I have attended two major virtual conferences since March. One combined large speaker sessions with smaller networking / discussion groups. The other only had large speaker sessions, and the virtual booths did not have built in ability to interact with virtual booth visitors. Needless to say - the conference that managed to pull off the networking /discussion groups, even though hundreds of folks attended, was far more engaging and worthwhile. Hopefully everyone will get better at this over time. By not having to spend the extra time and dollars on travel, it does extend the opportunity to participate in more conferences.
I've been to one virtual conference, and have another lined up for next week. It was worth it, but it's definitely not the same experience as an in-person event. I really missed the chance to talk to other people in the industry - and especially sharing a meal and a conversation with clients.
A big aesthetics EMR conference I was to attend earlier in the year went virtual instead of canceling. I was first skeptical of the value, but basically got it for free so long as they kept my registration for the next in-person event. As a vendor, it was far cheaper and easier than traveling, working a booth for days, taking prospects out to dinners, etc. I was able to “work” the booth while also doing other work all day and just respond when people asked me questions or wanted a demo. Also our presentation went well and had good engagement. Overall, we got the same number of leads out of it as I would expect from in person! Will definitely do again!
I have attended several. One early on had multiple misteps and it was apparent they had not adequately rehearsed to understand the technology in and outs. Same organization held another the next quarter and it went smoothly. Others have been impressive overall on how they have adapted. Some I would not have attended in person due to travel expenses and time away.
I haven't attended, online conference, would like to see how it goes. Already am missing the networking from the local professional socials and one-day conferences we used to have here, learning what the marketplace has been doing. comparing notes with colleagues.
Certainly better than nothing, but I agree with Justin that it's disappointing. Few know how to use powerpoints, and the the problem is exacerbated by Zoom. Often there are techno-glitches that, while not horrible, are annoying.
More important, I go to conferences to chat with friends, to discuss research, to talk about new projects. All of that is lost. Sigh
I just attended a virtual conference and I have to say I was incredibly unimpressed. Presenters that present from home...and dress like it. Inability of many people to just not understand technology, death by powerpoint...still! and finally the complete lack of any ability to feel "connected" to your fellow conference goers.
Overall, very impressed by conference organizers on how quickly they embraced digital tools/concepts to facilitate virtual sharing, learning and networking in this crazy time. It can't be easy to pivot from physical to virtual events, but as more time goes by... the virtual conference experience seems to be getting better and better. Not the same as gathering in person, but still productive.