Bill, a member of a professional society, told me about his life-long struggle with social anxiety. Attending a conference was about the most uncomfortable thing he had to do as an adult, he said.
New and infrequent attendees say that conferences can be nerve-wracking. Introverts and ambiverts sometimes feel the same.
One happy outcome of the recent online conference trend may be that the people who feel shy, awkward, or overwhelmed at in-person meetings get to experience conferences in a new and perhaps seemingly safer way. Introverts and ambiverts alike say that the chat feature in online conference platforms is an energizing way for them to contribute. Extroverts say that an active chat makes an online event come alive for them.
Associations will figure out more ways for virtual attendees to not only learn but also to connect and co-create online.
Perhaps we will find post-COVID that our online conferences will be warm-up opportunities for the in-person event.