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An email popped up on your screen, you opened it up to realize that you’ve been invited to a virtual biotech conference by your institute. Or, maybe, one of your peers in the biotech department asked you to join him in a virtual biotech conference. But you have your doubts.
Chances are you haven’t attended a virtual conferences before and you’re not sure what to expect or should you even attend it for that matter.
Well, allow us to give you a little insight into what to expect in a virtual conference (Spoiler Alert! It’s pretty interesting stuff.) and, more importantly, what you should consider when attending for the very first time.
It’s easy to fall prey to the prejudice against virtual conferences. How could a virtual conference be anything like an in-person one, you might think. You might think that it might not be as informative, interesting, or immersive as an in-person conference.
Well, think again.
Your first virtual biotech conference will be everything like an in-person conference, and more. We, at vFairs, have helped organize virtual conferences for our clients to provide all the experiences of an in-person conference in a digital format.
For example, we have interactive, virtual lobbies that are easy to navigate, more so than physical lobbies, and mobile-friendly.
If you go into the virtual conference with such preconceived notions, you might not fully commit to it and fail to reap its complete benefits. We recommend going in with an open mind and your full attention, for the best possible results.
You’d want your full attention during the webinars or live Q&As, at such a time an unexpected guest at the door or a peer might be the last thing you want.
To avoid this, consider clearing out your schedule for the conference (it’s better to keep a few hours free before and after the conference, we’ll talk about this moving forward) and make sure you let your peers, friends, and family know.
We talked about keeping a few hours free before the biotech conference starts, you’ll need this time to set up your computer/laptop (virtual conferences are also mobile friendly) for the conference.
All you’ll need to attend the conference would be a fully functional computer/laptop and a stable internet connection. So, check your internet connection, audio/video drivers of your PC, and keep an eye out for any potential issues so you don’t have to deal with them during the conference. And while you’re at it, clear out your desk and keep a notepad and pens nearby so you can jot down important pointers or queries (to be asked in the Q&A).
Pro Tip: Keep a water bottle (and snacks) by your side, you wouldn’t want to miss out on something important while running for water.
Visit the conference website to get all the information you need regarding the event. This not only includes the time and date of the conference but also the information and schedule of all the events e.g. webinars, Q&As, Games, etc. within it.
This will allow you to plan your schedule accordingly and ensure that you don’t miss out on the events that you’re most excited to attend.
It’s easy, and rather comfortable, to become a silent spectator of an event. It’s easier when we’re talking about virtual conferences. However, the best way to experience a virtual biotech conference is to be fully immersed in it.
You can do this by being an active member and being proactive. By introducing yourself in chats, starting discussions about topics you’re interested in exploring, and networking.
If there’s something that you’d like to ask any of the speakers, feel free to do so. This will allow you to make a deeper bond with them. And also help other attendees in providing a new and (potentially) interesting perspective.
Depending upon your reasons for joining the biotech conference, networking might be one of the most important aspects of the conference, right next to learning and skill-building.
However, this is also one of the aspects that will be the most different in a virtual conference. But that doesn’t mean it will be any less effective, quite the contrary.
vFairs offers great networking opportunities in the virtual conferences it hosts. A great way to network is through the impeccable chat functionality. This includes group chats and 1-1 conversations (with the option of choosing audio/video features).
Be it on-site conferences or virtual ones, games like scavenger hunts or trivia provide excellent opportunities to network with people with similar interests, both professional and personal.
Pro Tip: Follow-up with your new connections after the virtual conference. You can also connect with them through social media platforms like LinkedIn.
Just like in an in-person biotech conference, virtual conferences also exhibit research posters.
Research teams present research posters in a 3D poster hall that is easy to navigate. But if you’re thinking that’s all it offers, you’re in for a treat.
Virtual poster halls offer various features including (but not limited to) PDF links that you can download for future reference and poster agendas of different posters so that you can select the one you’re interested in.
But one of the best things about the virtual poster hall is the Q&A feature that lets attendees ask questions that researchers then answer—creating an interactive environment. The Q&As are published and available for others to view and ask their questions.
Once you’re done with the conference, it’s best to review, analyze, and scrutinize the notes you jotted down during the conference. But that’s not it.
One of our favorite features of virtual conferences is the downloadable content. The attendees get access to documents, presentations, and video content in real-time that they can download for future reference.
After the conference, it’s great to review the files you could benefit from the most. It will help in better understanding the webinars and discussions held during the event.
Conferences are fun, informative experiences that not only broaden your professional horizons but also allow you to meet new, interesting personalities. Virtual biotech conferences are no different.
So, pull out your favorite polo from the drawers (virtual events don’t mean you shouldn’t dress appropriately – business casual), set your desk in order, pull out your pen, and get ready for a fun and interactive experience.
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