Out and About: Ways to Meet in the Virtual World

There are lots of ways to meet in the virtual world of INTA’s Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting—make sure you know how to make the most of the opportunities.

While the educational programming is always at the core of INTA’s meetings and conferences, many registrants attend as much for the networking as the learning. Arguably that’s easier than ever in this year’s virtual world; since everything is at your fingertips, it's easy to to experience the full range of what the 2020 Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting offers.

Perhaps the hardest element of a physical meeting to replicate online is serendipity: those fortunate chance meetings that can lead to deep professional relationships, or just to a pleasant encounter with new company. For those who crave those chance encounters, Hospitality is a must-visit at this year’s virtual event.

Hospitality opens on Monday, November 9 and consists of three virtual “buildings.” One of them, Building 2, is open 24 hours a day, allowing for round-the-clock networking and convenient for different time zones. The other two buildings are accessible 7:00 am – 9:00 pm (EST) and 7:00 am – 7:00 pm (EST), respectively.

Registrants enter one of the virtual buildings and can join video conversations with fellow registrants at different digital tables.

Each table functions as an independent video conversation with all of the people gathered around the table.

Different-sized tables in the area fit two, four, or six people and anyone can “sit down” at a table and begin a face-to-face conversation with an individual or a group already seated.

Registrants can share their screens to watch videos or view presentations, and they can participate in a written chat to provide their social media profiles and other links.

In addition to informal discussions, Hospitality also will set aside tables dedicated to specific languages and to specific themes at different times of the day throughout the Meeting. Tables will center on Meeting first-timers, young practitioners, returning to the office, INTA’s industry groups, and the Association’s Pro Bono Clearinghouse, among other themes.

“The Pro Bono Clearinghouse discussion area will have one to two people from the Pro Bono Subcommittee who will be available to talk about the Clearinghouse overall (volunteering, global expansion, process for applicants),” explained Stacey Sutton, Associate, Pro Bono Program, INTA.

“Anyone interested in volunteering, understanding how the program works, wanting information to help promote and raise awareness about the clearinghouse should attend. Members from any region are welcome to stop by and learn about the program. As long as they are a current member of INTA, they can sign up to volunteer.”

Another option to make connections is Speed Networking, an Annual Meeting favorite that has been tweaked for the virtual environment. Lasting an hour and taking place throughout the Meeting, starting on Monday, November 9, Speed Networking sessions help you make new global business contacts and revitalize existing ones to support your business continuity. With fun questions to “break the ice” and great conversations that follow, the hour will fly by.

Sessions will take place to suit people in different time zones. They will be moderated video meetings with up to 12 participants and not be recorded. Registrants can sign up for up to two Speed Networking sessions; in total, 1,100 seats are available.

“Speed Networking sessions help you make global business connections and revitalize former contacts to support your business continuity.”

First Impressions

You may not have to shine your shoes before you enter the Annual Meeting this year, but how you present yourself still matters. Brad Phillips, Chief Executive of Throughline Group (US), is presenting Capsule Keynote: Presenting Yourself in a Virtual World: How to Form the Right Impression from Your Computer on Monday, November 16 (2:00 pm–2:30 pm (EST)).

Ahead of his presentation, he offered some tips on how to make sure you create a good first impression (see also video below).

“Even if you’re speaking to 100 people in a virtual meeting, you’re really speaking to one person,” said Mr. Phillips, a former journalist.

“You might think of it as having 100 one-on-one conversations simultaneously; after all, each attendee is seeing you individually on their device, not as one person in a larger, in-person group. Therefore, regardless of group size, speak comfortably and informally. Your comments should come across as an energetic conversation with one person, not a ‘broadcast’ to a larger group.”

And of course, if you’re speaking, everyone will be looking at you, so think about what they’re seeing.

“Most people default to doing remote video calls from their home office, or whichever space they use to do their daily work,” Mr. Phillips said. “But that space doesn’t always provide the most impressive physical background that lends itself to creating positive impressions.”

He added: “The remedy would be to walk around your home, laptop in hand and video on, looking at how different walls and corners look as potential backgrounds. You might be surprised that a seemingly nondescript wall serves as a perfect backdrop.”

Enhance Your Business

Don’t forget to visit the Exhibit Hall during the Meeting, which provides an easy, interactive way to engage with potential suppliers of products and services that can benefit your organization.

This year, 53 exhibitors from 17 countries will populate the Hall, including 13 new exhibitors and many who return to the Annual Meeting year-after-year. They represent trademark and other service providers, law firms, government offices, and marketing organizations, and media.

Registrants and exhibitors can connect through the INTAconnect 24/7 appointment system, and via one-on-one live and private chat capabilities. Registrants also will have easy access to view documents and videos to learn more about an exhibitor’s offerings. In addition, some exhibitors have opted to do product demos and hold live meetings in their booths.

The Hall will be open November 11–13, 9:00 am-6:00 pm (EST), and November 16–20, 9:00 am-6:00 pm (EST).

With the virtual environment closely replicating the experience of a physical Exhibit Hall, you can wander around and browse the various suppliers before choosing where to stop, and who to talk to.

After participating in any of these networking opportunities, you are encouraged to visit the INTAconnect appointment system to connect with the contacts you’ve made and continue the conversations.

Footage used under license from Envato Elements / FlashMovie


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

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