How to get the most out of attending a digital event

Digital events are fairly new and have won in popularity due to the pandemic. As with in-person events, you have good ones and horrible ones. I like to drop the phrase “not all digital events are created equal” into the many conversations I’m nowadays having about digital events. Say, you’ve […]

Digital events are fairly new and have won in popularity due to the pandemic. As with in-person events, you have good ones and horrible ones. I like to drop the phrase “not all digital events are created equal” into the many conversations I’m nowadays having about digital events.

Say, you’ve done the research and you’ve decided on signing up for a digital event, great! Now what?

Having organized multiple digital events under the TNW brand (e.g. TNW Re:Brand, Sprint), a global C-suite event together with the Financial Times (The Global Boardroom), as well as produced events for thirds parties (governments, public companies), we’ve learned a lot about organizing these online experiences. It goes without saying that we’ve also attended dozens of online events and learned a lesson or two about how to attend a digital event.

Based on that, I’ve created a framework with seven steps in order to put a strategy behind your attendance:

1. Define your goals

Do a 60 second mind exercise to figure out what you want to get out of attending the event. Write it down in bullet points (e.g. hear three interesting quotes I could share on my LinkedIn account, meet five people, meet five relevant people to talk about xyz).

2. Prepare and schedule your day

Block your agenda for 1-2 hour pre-event to schedule your day. Find which talks you want to see, check if there any round table sessions you’d like to participate in, browse through the attendee list, and send out meeting requests to relevant people.

3. Block time in your agenda

Make sure you’ve put your favorite talks, sessions, and meetings in your agenda. Let your direct colleagues know you’re attending the event, so you don’t have to hustle between attending and your day to day.

4. Install, engage, enjoy

Get yourself a good spot, good Wi-Fi, great coffee, nearby snacks or fruit and headphones. Enjoy.

5. Take notes

Heard something interesting? Did something trigger a thought? Seen something remarkable? Had a great conversation? Take notes, so you can remember and act later on.

6. Follow up

After the event, reach out to the people you’ve met. It doesn’t always have to be a follow up meeting, it can also be a LinkedIn invite with a small personal and event related note.

7. Evaluate

Grab your goals from point 1 and see if you met them. If not, what was the reason, was it the event? Was it you? Think about how you could improve your experience for the next digital event

Pro tip: involve a colleague or peer in this process, so you can compare notes and build in accountability. Use the above framework for all your digital events, and become a master in it. It’s a huge and very cost effective opportunity if you nail it.

And while you’re at it… why not put this to the test at TNW2020? Free and paid options available.

See you there!

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