Five tips to maximize your virtual Strategies in Light experience

July 30, 2021
Sometimes online education gets the short end of our attention because it’s too easy to believe we can multitask when we’re behind the monitor. Here are some ways you can get the most out of Strategies in Light — or any virtual program, really.

I have read a few columns and blogs lately bemoaning the lack of live interaction we’ve been missing with fewer in-person industry events. While I am going for lighthearted today, I hear you all.

Then I thought, “What if there are ways to improve the overall impact, retention, and experience of a virtual conference with just a few tweaks to our perspective?” You might be surprised at how in-person preparation strategies can translate to any virtual event, like our August Strategies in Light conference, for example. 😉

1. Preview the program.

I grew up in the 80s, so I am quite familiar with the phrase “Like, duuuhhhh…” usually accompanied by an eye roll. I know, it’s elementary! But you would be surprised how many times in the past I just flew-by-the-seat-of-my-pants registered for some online event and had no preconception of why I was attending. What do you want or need to learn? Is your focus leaning toward emerging solid-state lighting (SSL) topics like integrative lighting, circadian lighting science, or ultraviolet disinfection? Are you looking for more information on metrics, standards, and policy, and how to apply them? Are you here solely for the skinny on smart buildings and connected lighting? Get specific on what interests you.

2. Let your schedule breathe…

So the flip side of virtual events is that since you’re not traveling, you are generally still expected to produce some form of daily work, right? And that can feel a little hectic, since you know a virtual event that runs over multiple days has sessions planned ALL DAY ALL DAY LONG. Here is the good news: With many events, you have a window to attend on-demand any sessions you received access to when you registered. With Strategies in Light, that is a full 60 days after the live event program concludes.

3. …But pretend you are ‘old-school’ out of office.

Listen, I have a difficult time with this. I always think I can do three other things while I am on a webinar or any other digital learning opportunity. I have learned that you can’t really absorb information and formulate appropriate questions if you are doing any number of tasks you pretend to excel at while you’re listening on mute. Whatever your available time, make blocks in your calendar not to be disturbed, put on your out of office message, and don’t answer anything that isn’t urgent until the presentation concludes. I mean, if you have packages arriving and there is a possibility of porch pirates, you should absolutely run out and get your delivery. Because, again, 60 days to access the program.

4. Seek out additional resources.

While not every virtual event will have videos and product demonstrations from exhibiting companies, many will. Some events will have additional documentation, presentations, or research studies you can download or view. In our case, there will be QuickChat videos with some engaging company representatives. Attendees will also have access to a brand-new benchmark study on smart building technology trends and usage from our research team. Continuing education webinars will follow. Check out these resources when they’re available.

5. Engage! — During Q&A or post-event, it doesn’t matter.

Not being in-person may have its, um, advantages when it comes to attire (assuming you are not in an office), but being present virtually doesn’t mean being passive. If you have a question, write it down so you don’t forget it during the Q&A. If you’d rather not share your question with the audience, or there isn’t enough time, get in touch with the speaker on your own and discuss. During last fall’s quality of light virtual event, we received a lot of comments about people being disappointed there wasn’t more time to interact with a panel of industry speakers who were really on a roll. So finally, if you have commentary in reaction to the presentations that you wouldn’t mind sharing publicly, I would love it if you’d e-mail me later so we could consider publication in some way — really giving that audience reaction to the program.

Register to join us for Strategies in Light, taking place Aug. 24–25, 2021.

More about Strategies in Light

Strategies in Light renovates SSL business model, smart building proposition

Codes, standards, and policy guide lessons learned from California

How will buildings actually get smart?

Making places with light: ‘New Media’ meets ‘New Architecture’

UV-C: Near or Far?

Human-centric lighting moves closer to integrative future

For up-to-the-minute LED and SSL updates, why not follow us on Twitter? You’ll find curated content and commentary, as well as information on industry events, webcasts, and surveys on our LinkedIn Company Page and our Facebook page.

About the Author

Carrie Meadows | Editor-in-Chief, LEDs Magazine

Carrie Meadows has more than 20 years of experience in the publishing and media industry. She worked with the PennWell Technology Group for more than 17 years, having been part of the editorial staff at Solid State Technology, Microlithography World, Lightwave, Portable Design, CleanRooms, Laser Focus World, and Vision Systems Design before the group was acquired by current parent company Endeavor Business Media.

Meadows has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards, and has volunteered as a judge on several B2B editorial awards committees. She received a BA in English literature from Saint Anselm College, and earned thesis honors in the college's Geisel Library. Without the patience to sit down and write a book of her own, she has gladly undertaken the role of editor for the writings of friends and family.

Meadows enjoys living in the beautiful but sometimes unpredictable four seasons of the New England region, volunteering with an animal shelter, reading (of course), and walking with friends and extended "dog family" in her spare time.