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Thirty-two hours of educational content. Live interaction with your industry colleagues. Access to exhibitors and APMP members from all over the world — and you don’t even have to leave your house. APMP’s Winning Business Virtual Experience (WBVE) takes place this Wednesday and Thursday, and features a robust lineup of speakers presenting in a multitude of ways — from the short PechaKucha-style storytelling format to more in-depth, traditional lectures and panel discussions — in addition to some unique networking experiences that’ll allow attendees to connect and unwind.
Before the event kicks off in a couple days, think about how you’ll approach this experience. How will you take notes? (A recent survey of WBVE registrants showed the top tools of choice are OneNote or a good ol’ pen and notepad.) What will you wear? (That same survey said most will be dressed casually, or a step up from pajamas but not quite business attire. A few will be in their PJs.)
Here are five things you can do to help you get ready for APMP’s first online conference.
1. Watch the “WBVE Attendee Welcome” webinar.
Learn more about what to expect during the Winning Business Virtual Experience. APMP staff provides an overview of the event website and discusses additional tips and tricks so attendees get the most value from these two days. Once you receive your email invitation to access the website, take some time to navigate it and view the various tools that will help you maximize your experience. Support will be available throughout the duration of the conference, so take note of who you should reach out to if you have any technical issues or other questions.
2. Get organized.
Prep your learning space in advance. (With most of us working from home, this should be easy.) Download Zoom (if you don’t already have it), and make sure your webcam (if you plan to use it) and computer/mobile device audio are properly working.
In addition, think about what you’d like to get out of this event and outline a few goals based on this. On the WBVE event website, you can create your own schedule, so you don’t miss any of the sessions you’ve been looking forward to most.
Limiting distractions also will be key. Most attendees say they will be multitasking during certain parts of the conference due to work deadlines, etc., but they also plan to block out periods of time to focus when they can.
“As soon as I registered for the event, I blocked my calendar so no one could book a meeting, and I set my availability to ‘out of office,’” said Katherine Becchina, CF APMP. “I communicated with my teams that I will be at a virtual conference so there aren’t any surprises, and everyone knows my schedule. The night before the event, I will turn on my out-of-office messages in Outlook and communicate my delay in response. I probably can’t completely unplug due to some major deadlines, but I’m making a conscious effort to not be as available so I can focus during the conference.”
3. Check out who else will be online.
Attendees can see which of their APMP friends will be participating in the conference on the event website under the “People” section. You can even connect with each other via private messaging, and you can see who else has joined the session you’re in.
4. Get social.
During the conference, share your favorite one-liners and other tweetable moments on social media using #WBVE2020 and #ProudToBeAPMP. See what others are posting, too, and don’t be afraid to connect with speakers and other members who are adding to the WBVE conversation.
In addition, each attendee can customize their user profile on the event website. Add your photo, job details and other information about yourself you’d like to share with attendees who want to connect with you.
And many APMP chapters are hosting virtual networking events, so don’t miss the chance to join in on the camaraderie. That’s one thing Lauren Daitz, CF APMP, is looking forward to — “learning and development and interacting with my people!”
5. Schedule time to recap and replay.
Sessions from WBVE will be available on demand for 30 days after the event, so attendees will have the chance to revisit the sessions they enjoyed the most and flesh out their notes on their own time. (FYI: There’s a notetaking tool on the event website that allows you to keep track of your key takeaways; you can download them after each session.) Carve out some time over the next week while you’re still in WBVE-mode to watch the recordings of sessions you didn’t get to see the first time around.
If you’ve never attended an online conference, approach WBVE with an open mind, ready to experience education and networking in a unique setting — at home (or in the office) but among friends. And if you have, consider how you can further enhance the way you engage with the content and with your APMP peers. Either way, the Winning Business Virtual Experience is sure to deliver the professional development, motivation and inspiration you need to continue winning business in this current climate and after.