Pros and Cons of Remote Conferencing

August 26, 2021 8:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
I am attending a virtual conference for state museum associations this week in the midst of efforts to finalize OUR conference sessions and activities. It is both fun and maddening. But mostly I am getting some good insight into what our online conference might be like for you. Here are my thoughts about what was missing, and what wasn’t:

There were a few things missing from my conference experience:

  • Escape – I am sitting at the desk I sit at every day, surrounded by my calendars and to do lists. I have cleared my surfaces, but it is impossible to ignore that I am in the same place I usually am.
  • Adventure – To me, going to a conference means a road trip, sometimes with others, and navigating new places. I had zero problems making my way up the stairs to my office, and had no problem finding a place to sit.
  • Hugs – There were a lot of smiles and emojis on my screen, but no hugs or handshakes, which made me sad.
On the other hand, some of my favorite parts of a conference still happened:
  • Connection – I met new people and got to spend a lot of time with people I already knew. It was fun to have the time for longer engagement and I did get to know people better, even through a screen. Honestly, this surprised me the most of all.
  • Learning – I learned so much! There were several formal presentations, and it almost felt like they were sitting across the table from me. I felt a closer connection and paid attention better. It was also easier to take notes and to look things up on the Google if I wanted more information.
  • Inspiration – Sometimes the Zoom feels a little flat to me so I had pretty low expectations. But because of the above, and because I was hearing from people doing the same work that I am, it was really exciting and I ended my experience feeling re-energized and inspired.
  • Retreat – I really wanted to be able to experience this conference, so I did my best to create a space for it. I cleared my schedule and emptied off my desk. I even bought a case of my favorite La Croix water to drink. I did do a little of my regular work, but I tried to limit that to break times. To help me pay attention, I worked on a knitting project that gave my fingers something to do so I could keep my brain focused. Obviously, it wasn’t a “real” break from the usual, but I do feel like I was “away” a little. 
Tomorrow it will be back to the usual for me, but I am surprisingly re-energized and refreshed. I am also feeling optimistic that the 2021 Virtual MMA Conference will be the same for you. I hope to “see” you there!

Lisa Craig Brisson
Executive Director

The Michigan Museums Association is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

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Michigan Museums Association       313-334-7643       PO Box 5246, Cheboygan, MI 49721      lcbrisson@michiganmuseums.org

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