Pros and Cons of Remote Conferencing

August 26, 2021 8:49 AM | Anonymous member
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 Arts and Culture Council

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