In nature, animals and plants survive and evolve by adapting to whatever the environment throws at them. Sometimes, it’s a new predator. Other times, it’s a novel disease that spreads quickly through a population of organisms. As humans, we also have an innate ability to adapt to our environment — and a year as chaotic as 2020 tested us. Luckily, Pax8 had the tools to adapt as well, and we want to share them with you. In this article, we’ll give you some tips and tricks on how to successfully attend virtual channel events and make the most of your time online.

 

How We Adapted Our Events

Moving Everything to the Cloud

We know educational events are valuable tools to help our partners and the MSP community grow their cloud businesses. This was especially true in 2020, a time when most people had to quickly switch their business from in-person to online.

 

Adapting our in-person events was a challenge. There were last-minute plan changes, postponed events, and cancellations as we tried to quickly adjust to the “new normal.”

 

In hindsight, we learned a lot and there are even certain aspects of this “new normal” that we’d like to keep. In fact, with the start of a new year, we look forward to taking what we’ve learned from the past and applying them to our 2021 channel events.

 

Keeping Our Events

We realized it was not only critical to adapt our existing events, like our Mission Briefings and Bootcamps, but to also create new events to help our partners deal with rapidly changing IT needs. This was the moment when our partners were swamped with calls from their clients asking them for help with moving their entire business into the cloud.

 

We added webinars for MSPs that covered the impact of COVID-19 on tech and business, and we quickly went virtual with our Pax8 Mission Briefings and Bootcamps. Then, as people began to settle into the new routine of doing everything online, we hosted and attended the following channel events in 2020:

 

•  M365 Bootcamps

•  Azure Bootcamps

•  Wingman Wednesday Webinars

•  ASCII Events

•  ITNation Events

•  Acronis Cyber Summit

•  NexGen Events

•  IAMCP Events

•  Channel Strong Bus Tour

•  CompTIA Channel Con

•  XChange Events

•  Novacoast Events

 

Challenges, Tips, and Advice for Attending Channel Events

One of the biggest lessons we learned in 2020 was that in-person events are priceless. Virtual events are great, but they will never replace the connections people make face-to-face. When you go to a conference, the most organic conversations are very different in a rigid environment where you’re assigned to talk to a stranger.

 

While navigating how to get the most out of a virtual event can be challenging, we’ve learned a few tips over the past year that we want to share with you!

 

Tip 1: Prepare Before Clicking “Join”

While you can’t replicate spontaneous conversation, you can prepare to collaborate and participate.

 

•  Write down general questions before the meeting starts.

•  Take notes during the presentation.

•  Based on the discussions, jot down who you’d like to get to know after the session ends.

•  Get the contact info of the participants to make new connections.

•  Follow through and reach out to people.

 

Tip 2: How to Stay Focused

For you to get the most out of a conference, you’ll need a quiet environment without distractions.

 

•  If the event you’re attending runs for four hours, make sure to block that time out in your calendar.

•  Put Do Not Disturb on your devices.

•  Have an automated Out of Office reply set up for emails.

•  Let your co-workers know that you’ll be unavailable.

•  If you work from home, this is a good time to close and lock the home office door.

 

Tip 3: Maintaining Conference Stamina

Hosting conferences, classes, and events virtually means changing up our education and engagement strategies. Sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time can be tiring for both presenters and attendees.

 

•  Take a break if you need a break — that’s what the mute and video-off buttons are for.

•  Take advantage of any down time between presentations to get up, walk around, and do something other than stare at your screen.

•  Don’t go right back to work after the conference, take some time off!

•  Hydrate and don’t forget to eat.

•  Enjoy meal breaks and don’t feel pressured to get back early.

 

Event Predictions for the Future

Even though we’re in a new year, we’re still facing some of the same challenges from 2020. No group gatherings, social distancing, and restricted indoor activities mean that Pax8 will continue holding virtual events for now. We hope that soon, we will be able to resume at least some of our in-person events and conferences. Fingers crossed!

 

Not everything we’ve learned will be discarded and forgotten though, even with the return of in-person events. For partners who can’t make it to our get-togethers, we’ll be using what we’ve learned from 2020 to include them virtually. This hybrid approach will open a new avenue for our partners. Everyone will be welcome and able to join, no matter where they are in the world.

 

2020’s storm sent us to an unknown place almost overnight, but we learned to adapt. Pax8 is committed to novel ideas and changing up the way we do things; however, we don’t want to forget what we were doing before everything changed. This pandemic showed us once again the advantages of being in the cloud, but it also showed us what was irreplaceable on the ground – human connection.

 

Have you had a chance to attend one of our virtual channel events this year? We’ve got an excellent lineup of newly revamped Mission Briefings and M365, Azure, and Dynamics Bootcamps.