Online Government Contracting Events: What You Need To Know
It has been quite some time since the pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe. This massive disturbance caused significant disruption across different fields, especially to industries that rely on face-to-face interactions such as events. Due to health restrictions, event organizers were forced to redefine how they host government contracting events.
And it looks like it will be a welcome change in the industry.
Thanks to the rapid development of technology, countless digital conferencing platforms have sprung up. And now, organizations finally have the means to host virtual events to gather people once again.
Why is it essential to attend virtual events for government contractors like me?
Attending networking events in this day and age doesn’t feel the same as before. But fortunately, companies and organizations worldwide are now actively innovating ways to reinvent the virtual event experience. And that is why you shouldn’t miss attending one because gatherings like this open up networking opportunities, whether you are attending an in-person event or a virtual conference.
It lets you build connections
Contrary to popular belief, it is easier to forge connections through virtual events! Thanks to modern technology, you can easily communicate with fellow government contractors you have met during the event. Although you can’t personally shake their hands nor hold a conversation with your possible networks, you can make up for it by being creative in your online meetup.
It raises your knowledge
Aside from the renowned event speakers who will share their insights with you, you can also meet other esteemed experts during the virtual event to exchange ideas. By being exposed to different perspectives, you can have fresh ideas that can bolster your company’s growth, and even stay updated with the latest industry trends.
It elevates your profile
Actively participating in virtual events can get you noticed. And the more you get noticed, the more your face gets familiar with the other participants, especially the key industry leaders. Networking events offer the best opportunity to build your reputation, so make sure you always put your best foot forward. Engage in the event, participate during happy hour, enter breakout rooms, and connect with other participants.
You can meet your mentor
When you are attending a virtual conference, you are also opening up yourself to the possibility of meeting your mentor there. Digital events are teeming with talented professionals who are more than willing to share insights, provide additional resources for learning, and even scout for possible mentees among the event attendees.
How Do I Get The Most Out Of A Virtual Event?
1. Block out your calendar
Attending a virtual conference is more convenient now compared to the in-person events before. You don’t have to think of your travel time and accommodation whenever you want to participate in an online event. However, you should still block out your schedules as early as possible if you decide to attend a virtual conference to avoid any hitches during the actual event.
Fortunately, government contracting conferences are advertised months in advance. So, use that time to arrange your affairs and inform your team that you won’t be available during the event period. And to help you manage the time and tasks of your team, check out this app.
2. Review the agenda and check if it’s relevant
Once you have shortlisted all virtual events that you are interested in, it is now time to evaluate the value it will bring to you and your business.
Attending virtual conferences will use up your resources. Even if it is a free event, you will still dedicate your time to participating. To ensure that the virtual event you will be signing up for can benefit you, take a look at the event’s description, schedule, sessions, and speakers.
The Potomac Officers Club hosts live virtual conferences regarding different topics and themes. Browse the website to know the club’s upcoming events for government contractors.
3. Research about the speaker
Aside from researching an event’s agenda, you should also pay greater attention to the speakers. One of the best places to lookup an event speaker online is their LinkedIn profile. Usually, it contains all the necessary information you should know about them—their industry expertise, previous achievements, and interests. And if the speaker has delivered speeches before, try looking for clips to see how well they deliver their address.
You should also take stock of all their social media accounts then reach out to them once the event has concluded.
4. Familiarize yourself with the virtual conference tool
Undeniably, the latest technologies have made a fool of us countless times. So to make sure that everything is set and ready to go before the event, try to explore the virtual conference tool your event will be using in advance. Look up tutorials online on how to operate it, or even try to download the tool beforehand so you can get a first-hand experience.
5. Prepare a Plan B
Your virtual conference experience is primarily affected by your technologies at home. And that is why being prepared for any technical difficulties you might encounter during the event is essential to ensure that you can make the most out of your online event participation.
If you were attending your virtual conference in a place where internet connectivity fluctuates from time to time, it would be best to have your mobile phone’s internet connection ready. If your laptop tends to become unstable unpredictably, have another device prepared just in case. One advantage of technology is event flexibility.
6. Ask the organizer if they will be sharing a recorded video of the event once it has ended
During an event, when an engaging speaker is sharing with you their valuable industry knowledge, you furiously take notes of every point. Although some can easily listen and write simultaneously, others struggle to do these activities at the same time.
If you relate with the latter, you can try approaching the organizer before the event to ask whether they will be sharing the speakers’ presentation files with the attendees; and if they will be posting a recorded video of the whole event for later preview. By doing this, you can finally focus your attention on listening closely to the speaker instead of frantically writing down notes.
7. Let your family know
If you are currently living with your family, you have probably set up a routine with them regarding your work schedule. So if your attendance at an event breaks the routine, don’t forget to give them a heads up.
Finding the perfect work and life balance during a remote work setup can be pretty challenging. But as long as you keep your family in the loop, you can find a solution to overcome any obstacle.
8. Dress to impress
Just because you would not interact with any of the attendees personally doesn’t mean you can skip out dressing up. Despite the event being held digitally, making yourself presentable will make you appear dignified and professional. And, dressing up for the occasion also helps you set the mood!
9. Take notes however you like
Attending virtual conferences is one of the perfect ways to learn something new about your industry. Grab this ideal opportunity by taking notes of all the essential points—your way. Do you retain information better when writing it down on paper? Then don’t forget to have a pad and pen near you during the event. Or do you prefer to type them all out on your iPad instead? Whatever the case, do what feels right for you.
10. Prepare your food and snacks beforehand
In virtual events, you are in charge of preparing it all, unlike face-to-face events before where your meals and snacks are already served or readily available to you.
Although it may seem like an additional chore to you, you can liven it up by looking for delectable yet easy-to-prepare recipes online. This way, you can even practice your culinary skills! Or, you can replicate the in-person conference experience by having your food delivered right to your doorstep.
11. Take short breaks during the talk
Zoom fatigue is real. When you are attending virtual conferences, chances are you will be sitting in front of your laptop for an extended period. And, even though the event is genuinely engaging, you can still find yourself exhausted from the online activity, especially if you also feel confined in your home office.
So to avoid catching the famed virtual fatigue, turn off your camera for a short while and do a quick stretch. It doesn’t matter how you will move. As long as you stand up and step away from your computer for a few minutes, then you will feel recharged in no time. And also, taking a break helps you refocus so your mind will be conditioned to absorb more knowledge from the conference speakers.
12. Maximize social media
Social media is truly an amazing avenue to establish and maintain your networks and promote yourself to your connections. When you are attending a virtual conference, don’t forget to take photos of you in the call and snippets of the conference. These photos and video clips can be used as promotional materials for your social media accounts.
For example, you can live-tweet your thoughts during the session or post a screenshot of the event on your Facebook story with the official event hashtag. Also, you can publish a thoughtful piece on your LinkedIn account where you narrate your event insights.
By maximizing your virtual event experience, you obtained new industry knowledge and promoted yourself to your audience.
13. Connect with the speaker
And speaking of maximizing your social media presence, you can also use your platforms to connect with the speakers after the event. You can send them a thoughtful thank you message on their account, or you can tag them on your post about your key takeaways from the virtual event. Showing gratitude and appreciation towards your speaker is one of the best things you can do to establish a connection with them.
14. Get in touch with people you have networked with during breakout sessions
And last but definitely not least is maintaining the network you have created from the virtual event. Networking with your fellow government contractors is not a one-time thing. Instead, it is a continuous process.
Growing a network is pretty similar to a plant: every day, you maintain it in hopes of enjoying the fruits of your labor in the future. If you are pretty intimidated to network with others or feel lost in general, here is a guide on how to network with c-level executives.