Finding the Best Virtual Conferences

The shift to virtual conferences has made it easier for thought leaders to present. The hurdles of huge time commitments with cumbersome travel has been alleviated and the advent of more but shorter events has created a plethora of new opportunities to speak.

Conference producers are now creating more conferences than ever.  But, this doesn’t mean you should go out and speak at every virtual event out there. With the proliferation of virtual events, how can you best evaluate which are most worthy of your time? We created a list of criteria to consider when you are deciding to pursue or accept a speaking opportunity at a virtual conference.

  1. Conference producer– The first thing to look at is who is producing the event. Brand counts. If you are going to associate your name with the event you want to ensure they are a reputable organization.
  2. Track record of virtual conferences – It’s also important to look at whether this conference producer has held any other virtual events or if this is their first one. Just because they have produced good physical conferences in the past does not necessarily mean they will be successful with virtual conferences now. Ask how previous online events went and what they are doing to make the next virtual event even better.
  3. Audience – One of the primary reasons to speak at an event is to get in front of an audience that is most relevant to you. Ask the conference producer who the audience will be. Do attendees have the right titles and are they from the right industries and organizations? Have them share an attendee list from a previous virtual event to ensure it is on track with the audience you want to reach.
  4. Speakers – Be sure to consider the other confirmed speakers on the agenda. Ensure they are from reputable companies, their titles are at least equivalent to yours, and there is some evidence they are respected thought leaders with insightful knowledge to share.
  5. Agenda design – Audience attention spans are shorter when they engage with an event virtually and therefore material and approach must change too. Is the conference organizer simply taking the same agenda from their physical event and producing it online? A well-produced virtual event will have shorter sessions on the agenda and may even be held as a series of events over several days, weeks or even months.
  6. Content quality – While many conference producers are hastily putting together online events so as not to be left out, it’s imperative to look beyond the agenda design and closely examine the topics being covered. Are the proposed discussion points interesting and engaging? Do they matter? Are they leveraging viewpoints from a variety of speakers?
  7. Audience interaction – One of the biggest benefits of a virtual event is the ability to easily and instantly engage the audience. Along with strong content ensure the conference producer is leveraging technologies such as polling and Q&A to include and engage the audience and make the session more interesting.

There is no doubt that the switch to virtual events has opened new opportunities and innovative approaches. There has never been a better time to get out there and speak at a conference to position your company as an industry leader and your executives as industry visionaries.  But when looking at all speaking opportunities, as always, quality counts regardless of whether it is an in-person or virtual conference.