Who would have thought we would see both LeadingAge and Smash go virtual? We always attend, sponsor, and present at these conferences. And we typically have a trade show booth so that we can demonstrate our product. This year, we will have a virtual booth and we will present virtually.
There are plus and minuses to this for both the attendees and sponsors.
First the negatives:
One of the most informative and enjoyable part of these events is to meet and socialize with other people in the industry. Much of the learning comes for just talking with people in similar careers and sharing experiences. I really don’t think this can be replaced with a virtual trade show. For attendees, these conferences are like a mini vacation, during which they can get away from the stress of work and still be adding value to their community by learning more about what colleagues and competitors are doing.
Another negative is that if you try to tune in to virtual sessions from your office, you run the risk of interruptions and may miss sessions because of it. My suggestion is to attend these conferences from home or put a “do not disturb” sign on your door.
Now the positives:
As an attendee you will not only be able to attend live presentations but, since most will be recorded, you can tune in at your convenience. At a live conference you would not be able to attend all the sessions. With a virtual conference, there is no reason that you can’t attend every session.
How many times at a conference have you found yourself stuck in the wrong session? You may realize this after just a few minutes, but you are obliged to stay to the end. Not so with a virtual conference.
Finally, think of all the money you’ll save by not having to travel to the conference and spend money on transportation, hotel and meals.
Virtual trade shows, meetings, and even tours are not new, but COVID-19 has pushed them forward at an accelerated pace. This could actually be a good thing that has come out of the pandemic. And, every indication is that they’re here to stay.
So, don’t tune out. Sign up and take advantage of them. And we hope to “see” you there!
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