Conference networking in the age of Zoom
Conferences and conventions have been one of many things that have changed in the age of COVID. While much of the great education and content is still available through virtual conventions, one aspect of conference attendance that has changed significantly is networking.
Losing out on networking in the age of virtual conference would be quite a loss. But how do you proceed without the in-person experience? Fear not. There are solutions.
1) Want to network
Most important is wanting to network. Having a comfort level of putting yourself out there to find a people with your interests is essential, whether in-person or virtual. Breaking the ice is not as difficult as one might think because most people yearn for that dialogue.
2) Ask for a list of conference attendees
Many conference organizers will provide lists of registered attendees either before or after the event or online. Sometimes these listings include area of interest or research. These listings can be a great source for finding like-minded souls.
3) Attend virtual social events
Some conferences have virtual social events to let people meet and greet. Do not miss these and try to communicate with as many people as possible, versus just one person.
4) Use the chat feature
During presentations is the best time to network. Depending on the speaker there usually is a chat feature. Use this to not only to ask questions or make comments about the presentation, but also to connect with other people that are participating. If the opportunity allows, how about messages like this:
I love the concepts that you are discussing and these fit right in with my interests. I am in New Jersey and interested in research involving XYZ. Anyone else have this focus?
Thanks for the great information. In my research on ABC, I have had similar experiences. In fact, I am looking for research partners. Anyone out there know of anybody?
This has really struck a chord with me. I felt all alone seeking information in this area. I am at a small, private university and have been trying to find people interested in my area of focus (PQR) and would love to compare notes with others as well.
One note of etiquette:
These types of message have to fit, or maybe work best at the end. I do not suggest hijacking a presentation for your own purpose. But I also would hate to see you miss the opportunity for you to find your tribe.
Try to take every opportunity to meet people like you, while experiencing great content.
And one more thing.
I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to encourage you to participate in the 2021 TAA Virtual Conference. This is my fourth year, and it is my favorite meeting during the year. It is jammed pack with practical information. I hope to see you at my presentations, and have you network with people who have same questions and objectives you have. See you then!
John Bond is a publishing consultant at Riverwinds Consulting. He works with individuals on publishing and writing projects. Schedule an initial complimentary phone call at Publishing Fundamentals. In his career, he has directed the publishing of over 500 book titles and 20,000 journal articles. He is the host of the YouTube channel “Publishing Defined.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.