Virtual conference 101: Or, how to work the room when it’s all on Zoom

Conferencing is an acquired skill! Especially if you’re an introvert, and the very idea of tooting your own horn to strangers in a hotel ballroom full of noise and while trying to eat something for the first time since breakfast gives you hives. No one is born knowing how to do it, though. After 20-odd years of attending and presenting, during which I have accumulated an impressive collection of lanyards and nametags, I have also learned a thing or two about How To Conference.

It’s been my pleasure to share that knowledge with others, especially students and emerging professionals who might be conferencing for the first time, so that they can feel comfortable from Day 1 and get maximum value out of what can be a very intensive, expensive, exhausting, and transformative experience

Last year, I updated my classic “Conference 101” talk to address the unique (and for a lot of us, very new, and not a little intimidating!) environment of the virtual meeting. You can find the recorded version online here. (Note that the actual session starts after two minutes and 30 seconds of silence. Call it my tribute to John Cage.)

And, because this learning process is ongoing for all of us, I’ve recently updated that session with Conference 201, just in time for AMIA’s spring online conference! That new version incorporates the accumulated wisdom of a year of convening via Zoom with colleagues around the world. Slides are here (PDF), and the recorded version will be available online soon!