Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Have conferences moved to being more virtual?


You have probably noticed that over the last couple of years, a lot of conferences have figured out how to present them virtually. I know that there is still the want and need of having some conferences in person, but having the ability to have virtual conferences does mean that more people are able to attend without having to incur the large travel expense.

Here are some of the pros and cons that I see with the virtual conferences:

Pros:

  • Reduced travel time and cost for attendees, vendors, and speakers
  • Ability to attend the parts of the conference you want to attend but also manage work demands
  • Ability to be in the office in case of an emergency happens
  • Vendors don’t have to incur the cost of having swag at their booth
  • Sessions can be taped to ensure there isn’t an issue for real-time presentations.
  • Sessions can be viewed at times that work best for the attendee, especially if there are multiple sessions at the same time they want to attend.

Cons:

  • Not being able to meet face to face with vendors, speakers, and other attendees
  • Not being able to interact during the presentations, normally can only do it through a chat or Q&A feature
  • Not having the opportunity to focus on the conference because you are still at work.

Of course, there are going to be pros and cons for both virtual and in person conferences, and I think it is something that we all need to figure out what works best for each of us. Some businesses are going to like the virtual conferences for their staff a lot more than the in person, but they are going to have to figure out how to let their staff attend without all the distractions of still being in the office. I know that I have heard that some businesses still expect the person to be answering phone calls, emails and all the other distractions when attending the virtual conference. If a business is going to encourage virtual attendance at a conference, they need to think that the person isn’t available that day unless there is an emergency.

Conferences have changed for the foreseeable future and having the ability to attend virtual conferences around the world means that staff can get the training that they want and need without having to travel. Sure, there are going to be pros and cons about both the virtual and in person conferences, but having the opportunity to attend more without travel does sound nice right now. A virtual conference can also help you continue to meet your personal/family needs without being miles away.

My one question that remains is have Virtual Conferences replaced most in person conferences? My answer is that I am not sure about that, but at least for now I think we will have a blend moving forward.

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