Virtual and Voluntary
Well, September went fast. It feels like I only just pressed send on my first blog post a month ago.
We're all settling back into routines again, and it's been great to have the structure back. Yet whilst lots of things are returning, events which I'd normally have attended in person have all gone virtual. Virtual events suit flexible working, the playback option is very helpful when keynotes clash with school runs, but I miss the buzz of events and the chance conversations with other attendees. Often it's those impromptu chats that prove invaluable.
The events I've been to have been varied: I took part in Social Day early in September, and it was the slickest online event I've been to yet. The bespoke app was incredible, allowing interaction between speakers and attendees.
I also attended the virtual TEDxWinchester. Originally planned for March, it moved online and it was great to simply attend an event, with no pressure on networking or objectives to meet. I simply enjoyed being able to listen and learn from speakers from a variety of backgrounds and industries.
Delegate boxes are a nice perk of virtual events
This week I'm taking part in the Festival of Licensing. Normally I'd be going to Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) and this is the event that feels the strangest to be virtual. Perhaps because I've been to it so many times in real life, but also because the thing I love most about the licensing industry is the connections between people. It's just not the same online. The event programme is strong, and for large exhibitors with media brands, I can see how it will be a strong event, but for my business it's much harder to participate.
Aside from events, over the past month or so I've been working as a volunteer for Winchester Creatives. This social enterprise launched a crowdfunding campaign to allow them to provide mentoring and apprenticeships for local graduates affected by Covid-19. It's a cause I really wanted to help, remembering myself how hard it is to start a career after uni, let alone when there's a global pandemic.
How was your September? If you've attended any great virtual events, I'd love to hear about them. It's going to be a while before we can all return to in-person large events, so perhaps now is the time to think differently and attend events we'd not normally consider.