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5 Tips for Attending a Virtual Conference or WordCamp

5 Tips for Attending a Virtual Conference or WordCamp

Whether you’re working from home for the first time, or you’re a experienced virtual commuter, you’ve probably been spending more time online these days. Chances are you’ve been invited to or seen a virtual conference as they’ve started springing up to replace the in-person events that have been cancelled across the globe. 

As a remote worker, I’ve been attending meetings online for a while but participating in WordCamp San Antonio this year marked my first virtual conference. The event was well organized, packed with information, and attended by people from all over the world!

Here are my top 5 takeaways for virtual events.

1) Remove distractions

It’s easy to assume that enjoying a virtual conference will mean being able to clean the house, watch the kids, or get some light handiwork done. Unfortunately, multitasking doesn’t really work for most people. Attending a virtual conference is similar to enjoying an in-person conference. 

During in-person conferences, the only distractions are the people in the same room (and maybe the computer or phone in front of you). Once you step into a conference hall to listen to a speaker, you have one focus. Remember to retain that mentality when you step into a virtual conference room by removing external distractions. For instance, it helped for me to close the door to my office during sessions so I wouldn’t hear people in my house watching Netflix.

2) Be on time

Arriving late to someone’s talk means missing critical information that sets the stage for what you’re there to learn about. Arrive on-time to virtual talks in the same way you would in-person. Heck, why not try showing up a few minutes early to make sure your audio and video setup is working well?

Consider setting a reminder on your phone, or adding an appointment to your calendar.  Online sessions are often recorded (and therefore watchable later), but don’t rely on that (sometimes recordings can fail). Attending live can also give you the opportunity to join the chat and ask real-time questions.

3) Take advantage of time in-between sessions

One of the great things about a virtual conference is that you can switch between rooms quickly. Saving the 5 minute commute in-between sessions gives you more time to network and meet new people virtually. At WordCamp San Antonio, attendees were even encouraged to ask speakers questions in-between sessions. 

At an in-person conference, one person can sometimes monopolize the limited ‘between’ time of a speaker. At a virtual conference, a speaker can usually field more questions, and the answers are accessible to all!

4) Make sure your environment is comfortable

If you’ll be attending the conference all day, you’ll want to make sure your environment is as comfortable as possible. Bring snacks to keep your energy up and remember your favorite beverages. Consider using a pillow, moving your computer screen, and adding external speakers or headphones if you’re watching in a place with lots of distractions.

5) Get dressed

This last tip might seem a little silly, but it’s one of my favorites. When I don’t get dressed like I’m attending an IRL conference or meeting, I don’t feel as confident. If I don’t feel confident, I might not feel like sharing my video camera (a must for remote workers and remote conferencers) or engaging as though I’m attending a real conference. Getting dressed is my way of telling myself (and others) I’m ready for business.

In the office with my best business shirt.

What virtual conferences have you been to? 

Have you attended a virtual conference lately? Are you working from home for the first time? I’d love to hear from you. Send me a message on Twitter @ifyouwillit.

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Revisiting the DCKAP Summit with Jeries

Revisiting the DCKAP Summit with Jeries

Last week, our team attended DCKAP Summit, one of the few agency-organized conferences in North America. Not only did we sponsor the event, but we also volunteered our time to prepare and give presentations to the conference attendees on how managed ecommerce solutions are paving the way for merchant success. 

In attendance was Jeries Eadeh, the Hostdedi VP of Channel Sales at Hostdedi, Amber Hamad, Strategic Partner Development Manager, and Anna Brown, also Strategic Partner Development.

The event took place over one day and saw 15 speakers make their way to the stage to present on diverse topics, such as how to monetize customer support interactions and how to solve ecommerce pain points with integrations and PIM. 

In total, the event brought together some of the best minds in ecommerce across the US. The knowledge shared provided insights into core merchant pain points and offered actionable advice on how to realize the potential of a storefront. 

Below is a roundup of how it went, what we thought and what we learned.

From Humble Beginnings 

The morning keynote and general session were MC’d by Christopher Cuenza, who was a key figure not only introducing the speakers, but he always stopped to remind us what a special opportunity this event was for everyone.  Throughout the day he reminded us to make sure to meet someone new, learn a few things about them and share some genuine interest in one another. 

Found and CEO of DCKAP, Karthik Chidambaram, naturally kicked off the morning keynote with some preparation for topics and discussions to be presented throughout the day. Karthik shared inspiring stories about DCKAPs humble beginnings in Chicago, Illinois.  

Thanks to Karhik, and the entire team at DCKAP, in attendance was an amazing group of agencies, technology providers and merchants All of them there to discuss various topics from modern development to cloud services, product customization platforms, QA testing and much much more.

Exploring Modern Ecommerce Trends 

This was followed by Karthik was Marc Ostryniec Global SVP Sales at BigCommerce, who presented a riveting story around modern-day commerce trends. He connected today’s best practices back to some great American businessmen and provided advice on how merchants can drive growth with their businesses. Of particular interest was how folks like King C. Gillette and businesses like the Dollar Shave Club followed the same business model to disrupt an entire industry.  

We learned from some other extraordinary people like Mohan Natarajan, Praveen Venugopal, Bhavani Ramasubbu.  Who all took the opportunity to help merchants solve some challenging problems with product customization, management strategies, and simple quality assurance testing tools. It’s clear the DCKAP team have been putting their heads together and working incredibly hard to solve many common pain points for merchants.  

We finished up the day with another round of presentations from Sivaranjani Ramamoorthy with DCKAP, Stephen Cohan from Dot Digital and Steve Hoffman from Avalara.  All of these touched on important and relevant topics for today’s modern retailers. The afternoon group tackled challenging subjects like ADA compliance, growing your business with marketing automation, and managing both federal and local state sales taxes as a remote company operating across multiple state lines. 

Speaking on the Tools and Features Modern Merchants Need

I greatly appreciate the opportunity to present and speak with everyone at the conference.  

As we continue to network and meet merchants, agencies and technology providers, we’re learning that cloud computing, information security and performance-tuned architecture remain to be some of the most critical challenges facing today’s merchant.  I talked about the tools and features we’ve implemented for our clients. This included auto scaling, 1-click development sites, and more. 

Thank you to DCKAP and the entire team who organized the event.  It’s clear this event will be a must-attend next year. We look forward to working with everyone again to make the next event even more successful.

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