Tips for attending the first ever #YWM2020Virtual (or any virtual event)

While we are unable to connect in person this year, we can thankfully still share all the education, information, and support of Obesity Action Coalition’s Annual Your Weight Matters YWM event. VIRTUALLY. Virtual conferences have been rising in popularity for the past few years, but with COVID-19, it’s become a great way to still gather our community and introduce new folks to the Obesity Action Coalition and all it has to offer. We are so excited! With the financial commitment removed (the event series is FREE) and reduced time and travel commitment, the “doors” have been opened to many people that may have been unable in the past to attend, which is AWESOME! 
Here’s the best part (ok maybe it’s my best part) you can attend surrounded by your fur babies, with a bottomless refill of coffee (hotel coffee is $$$) and never change out of your pajamas! 
Here are a few tips to make attending the first-ever #YWM2020Virtual (or any virtual event) a great experience.
Most events will have an ability to check your connections (speaker-test, camera or mic test if applicable) utilize it to be sure you don’t miss any of the event making settings adjustments as it’s beginning. Not to worry, it’s a super, user-friendly system and they’ll be technical support the day of the events so if you do have an issue the OAC staff will be there to talk you through.
Get comfortable. I joked about staying in your PJ’s but really that is a benefit to going virtual… no need for business attire or heels. Favorite t-shirt with the salsa stain on it? Wear it. Super soft sweatpants with more holes than a block of Swiss cheese. Wear them. Pants, no pants? We’ll never know.
Get ready to watch. Grab something to drink and a healthy snack. Make it a goal to get through your water before the break. One of my favorite snacks is cucumber slices and a dip of some sort (homemade hummus or a Greek yogurt Dip) crunchy, hydrating and yummy.  
Utilize the chat feature (most virtual platforms have them) to ask questions of the speakers during the events. There are no “dumb questions” if you want to know chances are many others do too. If the speakers can’t answer during the allotted time many will continue to answer beyond their sessions. This is your chance to chat with world-renowned speakers and cut through the noise about health, weight, weight loss, nutrition, fitness, emotional health, and well-being. Read more about the program.
Utilize the official event hashtag. Our hashtag is #YWM2020Virtual and we’ve already started talking online using it but it will blow up during, between, and after the event. These are your people. Follow those you see using the hashtag. Introduce yourself to fellow attendees and speakers: “Hey, I’m attending #YWM2020Virtual too!” “Hi, I enjoyed your presentation at #YWM2020Virtual.” 
#YWM2020Virtual
Share where you are watching #YWM2020Virtual from or who you are watching with. Snap a photo and post it with the hashtag. Let’s see those smiling faces, the people behind the keyboard. Oh and scroll through the hashtag during and between events (just type it in the search box on Twitter or Instagram, etc.) you’ll also see quotes and educational gems from the presentations. Share your thoughts. Just be sure to add the hashtag so we can all see and respond.
We have designed the program schedule into a series. I don’t know about you but those events that go on all day long are just too much for my attention span and my buttocks to take. We get it, hence the series, to optimize the benefit to you. Now, it still might be a lot to digest or you might have a prior engagement on one of the event days. No worries, there is a paid option that will give you the ability to replay the events (and score some other groovy bonuses too.)

Hope these tips help you have an amazing time. If you haven’t registered yet… do it now: ywmconvention.com 
Michelle “Shelly” Vicari
Obesity Action Coalition National Board Chair

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