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Preparing for the 2021 Virtual STMA Conference 

For the Sports Field industry, the largest conference and trade show for the year is just a week away! This year, it will be featured as a virtual event, a shift that's become common after what we've been experiencing. While we won’t be able to shake hands and meet in person at the STMA 32nd Conference and Exhibition, it’s still an event a Sports Field professional won’t want to miss. Here are four tips to navigating the virtual STMA Conference on Jan. 12-13.

1. Don’t Forget to Register – It’s Free!

That’s right, registration to attend the STMA Conference is free for STMA members. If you aren’t a member or had your membership lapse, you can easily register and attend the event all at the conference registration checkout. Since the event is virtual, signing up last minute isn’t as complicated as in years’ past when travel and hotel accommodations were considerations. So if you are still on the fence about attending, or simply forgot to sign up, there’s still time and you can attend the conference and expo all from the comfort of your home or office.

2. Prep Your Technology

You might not get lost walking around a convention center or hotel during a virtual conference, but in a virtual space, you might still show up late if you run into tech issues. The day before the conference, make sure your devices are ready, charged and accessible to power. Day of the conference, log in early to allow time for any software updates or installs you may need to attend the event. Also, it’s a good idea to allow some time to test your microphone and video camera, find the mute button and get familiar with the event platform.

3. Limit Your Distractions

Being at your computer, it’s easy to get distracted by emails, meetings with your team, your typical day-to-day tasks or if you’re at home, kids, pets and chores can tug at your attention. 

One tip is to review the conference agenda and plan for the sessions you want to attend, when you plan to visit the expo and even find time to eat (varying time zones can impact your daily schedule). It can be surprising how easy a virtual conference and schedule can keep you glued to your computer for hours with engaging and informative content.

Also, before attending the virtual STMA Conference, make a plan on how you can stay focused, block the time on your calendar and let your colleagues (or family) know the schedule you are trying to keep for the conference sessions. For your day-to-day tasks that still need to get done, see if you can do them early or ask someone else to cover for you during the conference dates.

During the show, turn off your email notifications, mark your instant messenger as “do not disturb” and silence your phone. If being without your IMs or emails all day seems unnerving, schedule in email breaks, but set a specific amount of time to check them so you don’t lose track of time and miss a session you were excited about.

4. Make Time for The Expo and Fun

During in-person events, the sounds and activities of the expo and networking events might lure you into participating and enjoying part of a conference you didn’t originally plan on. In a virtual event, you aren’t lured to some of these fun and memorable activities, but that doesn’t mean you should miss out on them. The STMA Conference agenda includes the dates and times for the expo, as well as the welcome reception. Make the most out of your expo time by noting which vendors you want to visit. STMA offers a list of exhibitors within the conference brochure. Be sure to stop by the Ewing booth and participate in our giveaway!

For more tips on attending virtual conferences, CVent offers 10 tips to keep in mind for a fun, educational and enjoyable experience. We look forward to seeing you all at the STMA Conference and Expo!

TAGS: Field Management, Athletic Fields, Sports Field Maintenance, Sports Turf, Sports Fields, Business