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After the coronavirus pandemic, most conferences have switched to the virtual mode and it is most likely that this will be the norm for some time now. I understand that networking will be much harder in this setting and that is a major let down for researchers/graduate students especially the ones starting out fresh.

What do you suggest are the best ways to optimize one's experience of attending and presenting in a virtual conference? If some of you have already attended any such conferences in recent months, it would be great if you could share your experience, preferably with a little more focus on the networking aspect of it!

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How to network with people in virtual conferences?

There are no methods that actually work.

You can present your work, including your contact information. But you were doing this anyway, since it is the same as in-person conferences.

You can try asking questions during the conference. Most of the time, most of the questions are not answered, and most people do not know who asked them.

You can network using non-conference methods based on what you learned from the conference. For example, send emails to other participants.

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Two things come to my mind:

  • create a personal website that allows for networking and give a short profile of you and your research on it (like exchanging calling/business card at a real conference), don't make the mistake to overload it, maybe 1 DIN A4 page. You can also think about something like ORCID or researchgate profile, so I don't know how many researchers are registered to such services, a www profile with short URL is probably more safe to be visited by any researcher. On the website you can also establish a viewable flash version or snapshots of your poster/presentation. A disadvantage of a virtual conference is that longer discussions/conversations that happen during poster sessions cannot be easily technically realized or are convenient. And I think most researcher feel easier to contact you directly after the virtual conference by mail or skype/zoom if you actively ask for collaboration.

  • on the last (and maybe first) slide or end of your virtual presentation/poster show your interest for collaborations and above link or skype/zoom contact.

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