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Top 5 reasons to attend a virtual event

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Considering attending some virtual events? Find out which ones will be winners, which to skip and how the Attune Digital Employee Experience Summit stacks up.
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Three months into 2021, it looks like virtual conferences are still the norm for the foreseeable future. And after a year spent on working on zoom calls and browsing virtual museums during lockdown, our standards for how we spend our digital time are higher than ever. That’s why we’ve put together a short guide to help you evaluate this year’s crop of events, summits and webinars.

This list of 5 key considerations can help you determine whether a conference is worth attending. We’ve also included how SocialChorus’ first annual Attune summit is ticking each of those boxes, so you can decide whether it will add value for your organization.

Top 5 things to look for in a virtual event

1. Are the agenda and speakers relevant?

The number one way to tell if a conference will be worth your time is to evaluate its content. Are the items on the agenda relevant to you, your organization and your industry? If you’ve attended the conference in the past, is this year’s content fresh and future-facing, or a rehashing of content from previous years? Review the speakers for name recognition, but also consider whether their topic is meaningful to your role, and whether the information gained will help you work more effectively, make progress on team goals or achieve business objectives. 

These are all factors we considered when developing the agenda for Attune, our 2-day digital employee experience summit. To make sure our content was relevant after all of last year’s major changes, we enlisted theorists like Malcolm Gladwell and work futurist Dominic Price to explore how our ways of working will keep evolving. 

We also brought in DEI experts to guide attendees in creating lasting change, as diversity has become one of the most critical transformation efforts post-2020. 

Lastly, we recruited communications and IT leaders who were involved in designing their company’s digital employee experience, allowing our attendees to learn from their firsthand knowledge. Take a look at the full Attune agenda to learn what else we’ve included. View agenda –> 

2. Does the format provide opportunities similar to in-person events?

When you attend an in-person event, it’s not just about learning—it’s also about engaging with speakers, networking with peers, and getting to participate in the live event experience. 

While a virtual event can never be the same as a live one, it shouldn’t be eight hours of pre-recorded content, either. Look for events that deliver some of the same engagement opportunities as a live conference. Check the event website to see whether the speakers are having Q&A sessions, particularly on the talks where you’re most likely to have questions.

We chose to make most Attune segments live rather than pre-recorded to give attendees more opportunities to engage with our speakers. We’ve also provided additional engagement activities like yoga and musical breaks to better approximate the feel of a live experience. 

One other thing to note is that a virtual event format shouldn’t prevent you from meeting new people when you attend. Well-planned events will designate specific breakouts for peer networking. For Attune, we’ve broken our networking into 3 sessions for attendees in North America, attendees in EMEA and existing Socialchorus customers. 

3. How much will the event cost?

Cost is something to evaluate both in terms of expense and time. Find out whether the event you want to attend is charging for access—in light of the pandemic, some organizations made their events free in 2020, but it’s not yet clear if this trend will continue for 2021. 

We made Attune free to attend because we wanted as many people as possible to be able to access our content. We also wanted more organizations to recognize the importance of the digital employee experience, and removing budget as a barrier will allow more companies to join the conversation. 

In addition to expense, review the timing of the event alongside your workload. If attending every talk and breakout is not feasible for you, it’s fine to cherry-pick what’s most beneficial or interesting. Consider whether the event agenda is sensibly spaced out—for example, we decided to spread our agenda out across 2 days to allow for ample break time, so attendees didn’t have to choose between attending talks and completing important tasks. 

4. Does the event offer flexibility that works with your schedule?

In addition to expense, review the timing of the event alongside your workload. If attending every talk and breakout is not feasible for you, it’s fine to cherry-pick what’s most beneficial or interesting. Consider whether the event agenda is sensibly spaced out—for example, we decided to spread our agenda out across 2 days to allow for ample break time, so attendees didn’t have to choose between attending talks and completing important tasks. 

Many events also offer attendees access to recordings of talks, Q&A sessions and breakouts. If an event you’re interested in conflicts with your critical work projects, reach out to the company putting on the event to see if this is something they plan to offer. For Attune, we’ll host recordings of our main stage talks and breakout sessions on our event website for 30 days, so no one has to miss out on headlining content. 

5. What will the takeaways be?

Before deciding to attend any conference, whether live or virtual, give some thought to what you’d like to leave with in broad terms. Are you looking for inspiration and new ideas? Tangible ways to solve problems? New connections in your industry? Compare your mental shortlist to the content on offer.  

With this being our inaugural Attune summit, we wanted to strike a balance between big ideas and tangible strategic and executional takeaways. We’re focusing our Day 1 content on thought leadership and trending digital experience topics, while on Day 2, we’re providing a number of hands-on learning opportunities to ensure attendees are leaving with information that’s useful in their daily work lives. 

Deciding to attend an event calls for cost-benefit analysis

If attending an event doesn’t cost you anything, and you’re interested in the topics being offered, it’s often better to attend than to miss out. To learn more about Attune and find out if attending will be beneficial for you, visit attune-summit.com.

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SocialChorus

SocialChorus

SocialChorus is the leading workforce communications platform that transforms how workers and organizations connect every day. We empower communicators to reach every worker–from the head office to the front line. Companies thrive and win when all their workers feel informed, aligned, and supported. The SocialChorus platform allows communicators to publish once and distribute everywhere–efficiently delivering critical information to the right employee at the right time.

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