NSCA’s 23rd annual Business & Leadership Conference (BLC) is virtual – for obvious reasons. In 2021, many integrators can’t afford not to fully leverage the industry’s leading business conference. Use these tips to get the most out of the 2021 BLC and other virtual events.
We’re all tiring of video calls and virtual events.
And when they’re necessary, they better not waste time. That’s why the 2021 Business & Leadership Conference (BLC) on Feb. 24-25 will offer attendees value that meets our always-high standards.
While this BLC is the first to be conducted in a virtual setting, NSCA also conducted the 2020 Pivot to Profit (P2P) virtually last September. Sure, we’d all prefer to network in person, but NSCA received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the content and attendee experience. BLC—now our second virtual conference—will be even stronger.
Commit to maximizing return on investment at the 2021 BLC through these nine tips for leveraging virtual events:
1. Don’t Have a ‘Virtual Event’ Mindset
Don’t go in with a “virtual event” mindset. The session content was developed as strategically and meticulously as any conference we’ve ever produced. You can’t stand shoulder to shoulder with your peers, but you can make an effort to leverage virtual networking platforms. The more you commit to fully leveraging the event, the more you’ll get out of it.
2. Create BLC Cohorts
Using social distancing and following company protocols, consider spreading out in conference rooms and creating small groups to watch BLC sessions and conduct follow-up discussions. If gathering in a physical space isn’t an option (which it isn’t for many), then conduct these discussions using your company’s virtual networking tools.
3. Learn to Use the Platform
During last year’s Pivot to Profit, we used rAVe’s LAVNCH virtual event platform and received tremendous feedback—so we’re also using it for BLC. Log on early and click around. Make sure you understand how to access sessions and tap into networking tools. Explore the platform beforehand to improve your experience.
4. Block Your Calendar
One of the reasons the in-person BLC has such a strong impact on so many attendees is because the attendees are all in during the event. They limit calls and unrelated meetings. Do the same during a virtual event. Block off your calendar and focus. Otherwise, you’re shortchanging yourself when it comes to ROI.
5. You Can Network
Not being able to meet face to face during virtual sessions doesn’t mean you can’t network. Make it a priority to participate in session-related chats. Create a goal to set up 10 appointments per day with BLC attendees and/or speakers. Join the Twitter conversation using #BLC2021. You can still network, but you need to approach it differently.
6. Prioritize Sessions
Just like an in-person BLC, the virtual event will have concurrent breakout sessions. For one week, in the archive on the LAVNCH site, you’ll be able to watch the breakout sessions you didn’t attend—one perk of the virtual format. Prioritize the sessions you want to make sure to watch in person.
7. Take Breaks
Your brain can only take in so much information without overflowing. Between sessions, give yourself time to recoup. That doesn’t mean responding to 20 emails and knocking a couple items off the to-do list. Take real breaks and come back to the next session ready to tackle more ideas and strategies.
8. Politely Inform Your Family
Many of us are working from home. The close proximity to loved ones can be great … sometimes. Make sure your family knows you’re committing to a conference and need appropriate space. Normally you’d be traveling. In this case, at the end of a day full of sessions, you can have dinner with the family.
9. Expose More Team Members to BLC
If there’s one big benefit to virtual events, it’s that you don’t have to travel. There are also no travel expenses. That makes the 2021 BLC the perfect opportunity to expand the number of team members who benefit from NSCA content.
We hope these tips help you fully leverage the 2021 BLC. We also recommend reading and applying “5 Steps to Combat Zoom Fatigue,” which is obviously applicable to any virtual platform, outlined in a recent PSNI blog.
“We’ve all been on more than our share of virtual events. NSCA knows that and makes sure the sessions are worth attendees’ valuable time,” says Shedan Maghzi, corporate strategic advisor for Avidex and NSCA board member. “I attended NSCA’s 2020 Pivot to Profit Virtual in the fall and the content was extremely strong. It was the best virtual event experience I’ve had.”
Besides that, the companies in the integration industry face formidable challenges in 2021. “We have important business and leadership objectives right now,” says Mike Boettcher, CEO-PA at New Era Technology and NSCA president. “This one-time virtual BLC is actually the most important ever.”
If you’re reading this, then you’re a member of the NSCA community. We’re in this together. We won’t be able to share a drink at the end of the 23rd annual BLC, but we’ll be learning how to seize opportunities there for the taking in 2021.