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Top tips for attending virtual and in-person events

The saying by Benjamin Franklin instantly came to mind ‘by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’ – and that’s the same for attending an event or conference, the more preparation you put into an event the more you’ll get out of it.

Whether you’re experienced with attending conferences and events, or only just venturing into the wonderful world of events (welcome!), we’ve got you covered with some handy hints and tips for attending events.

Let’s start off with virtual events:

Think about your environment

Are you comfortable? Is there light glaring on your laptop? Do you have everything you need — a drink, notebook, pen, and some headphones too? As hard as it can be in the virtual world, try to avoid distractions. Put your computer and phones to ‘do not disturb’ so you won’t be tempted when you see the little pop-up in the bottom corner or here that ping of a message coming through. Make sure your space is as quiet and private as possible.

Dress code

Even though it’s virtual, it is important to think about your choice of clothing as well as your background, you don’t want to cause a distraction (or clash). Remember! Don’t wear a black top and sit in front of a black wall – you don’t want to be a floating head…

Arrive earlier than the scheduled start time

Top tip, log on a little earlier than the scheduled start time, it can sometimes take a little longer to get onto the virtual platform, but it also allows you to have time to settle in and get comfortable and have a little browse around. If you haven’t tested the platform prior to the event day, it also allows you to sort out any technology issues before the conference gets underway. The last thing you want is to have technical issues before the conference is due to start and then you miss out on the opening remarks. Rushing to log in as they open the day can make you feel flustered which is not a fun way to start an event.

Side note, if you can test the day before (or even the week before) then it’s recommended, as the majority of event organisers open the platform for delegates up to a week before the event so that they can familiarise themselves with the layout and test out their devices/internet.


Use the chat function on the platform, even if you don’t want to say anything yourself, engage with the comments coming in – it’ll help the event feel more interactive. Use the breakout rooms as opportunities and make sure you engage; remember the saying ‘the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it’.

Use the breaks

It’s easy to just check your emails or do something in between sessions, however, this is the time to get up from your desk, get yourself a drink, or visit the networking or exhibition zone for a short period.


A huge part of attending conferences and events is networking. Just because we’re attending a virtual event doesn’t mean that the networking element is lost.

Next up here are our top tips for attending an event in-person:

Plan ahead

Work out what you’ll want or need, but remember pack light, the last thing you’ll want to be doing is carrying around a big bag all day. Remember the essentials: notepad, pen (and a spare!), water, phone, charger (but make sure you have a full battery), and business cards (important for networking!)

Review the schedule for the conference or event, read up on what sessions are available and highlight what you want to attend prior to the day. That way you will not miss out on anything important.

Arrive in good time

Again, you don’t want to be rushing and be in a state of panic when you arrive. Make sure you are familiar with the venue and how you plan to arrive and leave yourself plenty of time to get there. You don’t want to arrive at the event flustered.

Make notes

It’s going to be a long day with an overwhelming amount of information. You don’t want to forget anything, so pull out that notebook and pen and take notes.

Be social

In-person events are social occasions; remember you are always networking even if you just sit next to someone in one of the sessions or have lunch with someone you don’t know yet. We have recently shared a blog with some common dos and don’ts of networking , grab a cuppa and have a read before you attend your next in-person event.

Follow up

One of the most important things after attending an event is the follow-up. You’ve networked like a pro and have created some contacts. Don’t just leave them in your drawer, go through your notes and business cards and share them with your colleagues.

For hybrid events, you’ll either need to combine both or use whichever style you are attending the event. Attending conferences or events for the first time can be quite daunting, but hopefully, these top tips will help calm those nerves.

Are you looking for a venue to host your next event, meeting, or conference? Then show your delegates that you know how to throw an event by choosing Horizon Leeds as your next venue.

Get in touch for a chat today on 0113 2253190 or drop us an email to discuss what you’re looking for.