This has been a strange and difficult year, with a lack of human interaction that has been frustrating for many people.
In-person conferences and events seem like little more than a distant memory and many importers are feeling fatigued by interactions on Zoom and virtual events.
In fact, when Wild Apricot asked organizers, “What are your biggest challenges when it comes to running virtual events?” the top response (38%) was that there are “Too many other events – participants are sick of online calls.”
Virtual events, however, are currently the best opportunities we have to network with peers and service providers. They provide us with a chance to reach out to people we might want to network with, and virtual tools offer a way to stay in touch during the days of the pandemic.
How can you get the most out of these events?
3 Tips for Attending Virtual Events
Traditionally, people have gone to trade shows to get ideas and to network. These tasks may not come as naturally at virtual events, but they can be done.
Tip #1 – Don’t Forget to Network
Be unique and reach out to people who you want to connect with. You can try sending an invite for a virtual “coffee hour.” Some organizations are hosting virtual happy hours or coffee hours as well. If you are thinking about talking to service providers, reach out to them proactively rather than waiting for them to connect with you.
Tip #2 – Appreciate the Cost Savings
You or your company will be saving money by not participating in-person — travel and lodging costs can be significant. This provides you with an opportunity to participate, even if your budget is lower than usual. Take advantage of that if you can, even if it’s just to register for one session.
Tip #3 – Don’t Stop Making Progress
A pandemic doesn’t mean you should stop making progress. If you’ve relied on events to help you come up with ideas in the past, take advantage of what is available to you now, albeit in a different form. Not doing anything means taking a step backward, and as others come up with their new ideas, you might struggle to stay current.
Some Upcoming Events to Consider
Here are some events you may want to think about attending.
ICPHSO 2020 International Virtual Symposium | Oct 27-28 (Link)
Hosted By: The International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO)
“The focus of this year’s International Symposium is ‘Safely sustainable: exploring how the concept of sustainability is impacting and shaping consumer product safety.’”
AHFA Regulatory Compliance November Webinars | Nov 11 – Dec 2 (Link)
Hosted By: American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA)
“AHFA’s Regulatory Summit is an extended series of 10 webinars that began in July and extend through December.”
PLMA International 2020 Online World of Private Label | Dec 1-4 (Link)
Hosted By: Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) International Council
“This show brings retailers together with manufacturers to help them find new products, make new contacts, and discover new ideas that will help their private label programs succeed and grow.”
PPAI Expo | Jan 11-14 (Link)
Hosted By: Promotional Products Association International (PPAI)
“The expo connects promotional products suppliers and their products to distributors, in a variety of engaging ways.”
PLMA Live! Private Label Week Digital Event – Feb 1-5 (Link)
Hosted By: Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA)
“This show will allow retailers and manufacturers to connect in real-time with exhibitors displaying their food and non-food products. There also will be presentations by retail leaders and daily video reports on category trends and new products.”
What Has Been Your Experience With Virtual Events?
Tell us about your experience in the comments below.