Ok, at this point, we have all been part of at least one virtual conference. I've done a TON over the past few years, but with the onset of the pandemic, I have seen so many more conferences migrate into the virtual space. My sister even participated in a virtual open house with her students' parents from all over the globe (which was super cool, if I say so myself)! Virtual conferencing creates global space to share ideas and workshop techniques, and I wouldn't trade them for the world. However... sometimes they can be a little difficult to manage.
Whether you are a presenter, participant, or host, you NEED to know what I learned the hard way!
Know your platform. Before you even get started, know all that you can about the software you will be using. Know where your mute button is, how to get into and out of your rooms (especially for presenters) and, of course, KNOW WHAT TIME ZONE YOUR EVENTS ARE LISTED IN. As a host, you should make sure you list this as part of your event listing. If you don't know, ask! HOT TIP: Program them into your electronic calendar and select the appropriate time zone from the list. Then your calendar will convert them to local time for you!
Stay hydrated. This is super important! Start your day with a large glass of water, and make sure you work some in throughout your day. If it's a full day of "sit there" meetings and workshops, your whole day could pass before you realize you are still nursing the one cup of coffee and half-full water bottle from yesterday. We can do better than that!
Stretch. Along with staying hydrated, you should plan to stretch on the breaks. I have some awesome quick starts and yoga workouts for those of you registered in On Demand and several free workouts over on YouTube that will fit into that lunch hour nicely!
Eat well and healthily. Whatever that looks like for you. Look, I know that the "boredom hunger" can strike in those required conferences, or you could feel like your starving after a full day of workouts in a virtual dance or fitness conference. I can too! Meal prepping is your friend this week - make some healthy meals to pop into a microwave. Pack brainfood snacks to your home office just like you would at an in-person conference.
Don't overdo it. You know how you skip some workshop times to network or extend your lunch at in-person conferences? Who remembers the planned night life shindigs and day trips at educational events? I miss those! I used to fill my day with all kinds of workshops so I could laze around the hotel pool at the end of the day. We don't have that currently - when we close our laptops we have laundry to do, kids to feed, and partners to spend quality time with. I don't hate these things, but I have to remember to save some of my energy for them, too. (It DOES make it a lot easier to not miss them with all of my soul when they are waiting for me to end my day!)
Isolate. This is the hardest one of all, y'all. Isolating from your usual crazy day when you work from home is absolutely necessary for the conference. It will help you take notes, present professionally, and manage any snags. If you have wee ones, a babysitter who can help you manage distance while still providing for your kids is vital. Take the dogs on a very long walk before-hand, and keep the door closed. If you have a delivery scheduled, put a note on the door.
Wear the pants, too. Y'all. I'm typing this with no pants on. Seriously. If you follow me on Instagram you know my whole family chooses not to wear pants if that is an option. Or we wear sweatpants. It can be super tempting to wear the "2020 Mullet Outfit" but DO NOT do it! Take it from me - the minute you forget about those PJ pants is the same minute you have to pop up to grab something or close the door. Don't do it! Don't!
HOT TIP: My sister has kind of made a uniform out of cute dresses, cardigans, and leggings. She says it helps you regulate temperatures (take off the cardi if it's hot, etc.) and you still look professional.
Remember that you are a human being and that people exist outside of screens. It can be a quick trip to uncanny valley when we spend all day on a screen with other people. We forget that we have arms and legs! Take a walk outside, play a game with your kids, anything that brings your mind and body back together. You aren't exempt from this feeling in a virtual fitness environment, either, it just sneaks up a little slower.
Virtual conferences are so much fun. We get to bring together people from all over the world with the click of a button. How cool is that?! Hopefully with these tips, you are armed and ready for your next virtual conference or all-day workshop online. Which could be coming up soon because...
At the end of February I'm a presenter at Live Stream Mania!! I'm so excited about this virtual fitness conference. It is going to be THE BOMB and I would LOVE to see you there!