Normally in the weeks before a conference I am making checklists to ensure I have everything I need – business cards, backup phone batteries (I tend to tweet, a lot), comfortable walking shoes, a prioritized list of people I would like to connect with and sessions I want to attend. It occurs to me that What’s the Fix? is no different really, even if I am attending the conference virtually, and as always it is important to have a plan in order to get the most out of the conference.

What’s the Fix? is breaking the mold of the traditional conference, with most of the attendees attending via livestream. This is a great way to make the content available to a wide variety of participants and push us outside our comfort zone – but how can we get the most out of an online experience?

Plan to give it your full attention
One of the advantages of an in-person conference is that you are not only there in person but you are also away from your daily responsibilities and routines. It is especially easy when streaming a video to think that you can multi-task, check email and stay on top of the things you normally do. Give yourself permission to make May 17th a conference day. Block the time on your calendar as “Busy” and turn on your “Out of office” response to your email. This will allow you to limit distractions and to fully experience the conference itself.

Plan your food
This may sound silly, but I have found this helpful when participating in online communities – from tweet chats over the lunch hour to a day-long conference. Knowing what you are going to eat & having snacks or meals within reach is another great way to avoid distraction on the day of the conference. If you have to run out to grab lunch or make a meal while the conference is streaming, you may miss something!

One of the benefits of attending a conference is the people that you meet in the process. Even though you are attending remotely, What’s the Fix? should be no different. It may be out of your comfort zone to chat online or use twitter, but these are the ways in which you will enrich the remote conference experience and be able to build your network.

There are two ways to network during the conference – there will be chatrooms available through the livestream portal available to those participating remotely, and then there will also be a wide array of interaction on Twitter from both in-person and remote attendees using the hashtag #WTFix. You may be surprised at that kind of quality connections you can make online. You can say hi to me on @MMaxwellStroud and the rest of the #WTFix Digital Advisory Board members to get started!

Use Two Screens or Two Tabs
While it might be tempting to watch the conference from my tablet in my recliner, I know that I will get the most out of the experience by using two screens and sitting at my desk. I will use one screen to watch the livestream and another screen to have twitter open and engage in conversations with other participants about the content. This gives me the opportunity to connect with the remote and in-person audiences and build my personal network.

If you are not active on Twitter but would like to give it a try, take it for a test spin before the conference.  Try using Symplur‘s list of health care tweet chats to find and attend a tweet chat that interests you prior to the conference. This will help you see, and get a little more comfortable with, how the online interaction works around a hashtag.

#WTFix is also hosting or participating in several upcoming tweet chats, and we would all be happy to introduce you to the chat, just let us know it’s your first time! All of the links below go directly to the “latest” tab for the hashtag, so you can see what’s going on in real time.

  • #PatientChat on May 4th at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern
  • #WTFix on May 10th at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern
  • #HCLDR on May 15th at 5:30 p.m. Pacific, 8:30 p.m. Eastern

Now that I have a plan, I am ready to attend #WTFix – hope to see you there & chat with you in the process! If you’re not already registered, click here to register for free.