Five ways to make the most of a virtual conference

The MS Trust Virtual Conference 2021 begins in a couple of weeks, and we simply cannot wait to get started. We might be biased, but there is no other event like the MS Trust Conference! Unfortunately, we can't meet in person this year, but we can assure you that the event will be just as fantastic. With that in mind, we've compiled a few tips to help you make the most out of the conference.

Organise your schedule

There will be various exhibitions, networking events, and workshops across the conference's three days. No matter your speciality, there will be plenty of opportunities to explore your field and network with others from a range of different specialities. To make sure that you attend all the sessions you want to, we recommend that you select the sessions you would like to attend in advance. We do understand that it can be challenging to choose when there are so many available! Don’t forget you will be able to watch any of the sessions you miss or can’t attend on demand for at least 3 months after Conference.

Try to minimise distractions

One thing that we have all learned about working from home is that there are distractions and interruptions, some avoidable, others unavoidable. If you can, set yourself up in a quiet space where you are less likely to be disturbed. Silence your phone, block out your calendar to ensure that your colleagues know that you are occupied, and perhaps set up a do not disturb message. These actions will allow you to focus fully on the conference and make the most of the insightful event.

Be an active participant

It can be tempting to try and stay anonymous during virtual events. If you can, we urge you to get as involved as possible - it will work networking wonders! This is also where 'do not disturb' comes in particularly useful. If you're trying to split your time between your usual daily tasks and the conference, you may run into difficulties. By minimising distractions, you can actively participate in discussions without feeling like you've missed important information. If appropriate, involve your co-workers, too. By attending the virtual sessions with a colleague, you may find that you get more out of the event. Plus, you will have some really insightful discussions about the sessions for weeks to come!

Take breaks

It can be tempting to try and cram in as many sessions as possible, but it is important to take breaks during the three-day conference. We all work differently, and some benefit more from one long lunch break, while others prefer numerous 'microbreaks' through the day. You typically fall into natural break cycles at in-person events. For example, you may head to the snack or coffee bar for refreshment when a session ends. By ensuring you take breaks, you can increase your concentration which will allow you to get the most out of the virtual event.

Have fun!

Whether virtual or in-person, conferences are exciting events that many of us look forward to each year. By following the steps above, you can increase the likelihood that the virtual conference will be a fun experience, rather than a stressful one. We have a sneaking suspicion that you will have fun - how could you not when the conference involves a virtual coffee bar, 2D exhibition, and the famous MS Trust quiz and disco!