How to Network at Virtual AIHce EXP
One of the benefits of attending a conference—aside from the chance to hone your skills by attending educational sessions—is the opportunity to network. With so many members of your profession in one place, conferences are ideal settings to forge friendships and professional connections and maintain or re-establish old ones.
This year, AIHce EXP will be a fully virtual event. Networking is still every bit as important to your career and professional development. You must find or create the networking spaces virtually that you would typically be able to visit physically.
Start by looking for chat and discussion forums offered through AIHA’s online community for IH/OEHS professionals, Catalyst. There, AIHA members can discuss what sessions they plan on viewing and what they’re looking forward to about the hybrid conference. For AIHA members, Catalyst is a place to start reaching out to colleagues.
Networking can also take place over social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. Create a private group, or a Twitter list, with other AIHce EXP 2021 attendees to use as a platform to communicate before, during, and after the conference. Make use of the chat and messaging tools on these sites to hold fast-paced conversations with each other.
Many video conferencing platforms also have chat functions. During a session, you can communicate with the other attendees and the presenter—but make sure you don’t distract yourself or others. In fact, the internal chat functions are best for communicating with the presenter in a limited fashion, such as asking questions. However, sessions can still offer a chance to be introduced to other attendees and a jumping-off point for future conversation. Keep an ear open for the names of people attending the session with you.
If you’ve already gotten in touch with someone you know will be attending a session with you, you might be interested in texting or messaging during the session or discussing it with them directly afterward. Follow up with presenters afterward at Q&A sessions or by connecting with them on social media.
AIHA is looking at offering opportunities for attendees to join topical virtual meetings. In these special topic rooms, you’ll be able to network with other attendees and reflect on the sessions you’ve attended, as well as discuss challenges you might be facing. Watch the EXPress for more information about these special events as we approach the conference.
Above all, maintain an optimistic attitude going into Virtual AIHce EXP 2021. For attendees who come prepared and with an open mind, virtual conferences can double your productivity and broaden your networking experiences.