7 Ways Live Chat Makes The Most out of SXSW Online

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SXSW 2022 is coming up soon! It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect with leaders, authors, and creatives across industries. And Arena Live Chat will be there as Online Exhibitors: that means online attendees have plenty of ways to engage at SXSW and meet new people!

Use this guide as your cheat sheet to help you make the most of the event using live chat. Before we dive in deeper, there are two essential points to cover

Two Ways To Benefit From SXSW 2022 As A Virtual Attendee 

Attending SXSW 2022 online is a different experience than attending the event live in Austin, Texas. As an online attendee, you have two main ways to benefit from the event. First, you can discover new insights from the keynotes, panels, and other online events. Second, you can interact with other event participants digitally.

Making the most of the event starts with pacing yourself. SXSW 2022 runs from March 11-20, so it is easy to burn yourself out with too much activity. That’s why it pays to be selective in choosing which activities to join. To help you select the best events, check out our guide. Once you choose your events, come prepared to take notes so that you can capture key points and quotes.

Of course, discovering new information is just one part of the value of participating in SXSW 2022. Instead, the social context of SXSW Online is a big part of the value. Given that the last SXSW event was held in 2019 with more than 100,000 attendees, you can expect a lot of excitement at the festival’s 2022 return. As an online attendee, you can meet new people – including celebrities and artists – by taking a strategic approach to the event. Use the techniques below to make the most of SXSW 2022 from a networking perspective.

7 Tips To Make The Most of SXSW 2022

At this point, you’re probably used to attending online events and meetings that last a few hours or even a full day. A multi-day event like SXSW 2022 takes a different approach. 

1) Define Your SXSW 2022 Goals

Participating in SXSW 2022 is not cheap in the ticket price (the most affordable option is around $500) or time (over seven days). You’re likely to waste your time and money. Fortunately, setting a goal or two for SXSW 2022 online is easy. 

Write out your goal in one or two sentences. For inspiration, use the following:

  • I am attending SXSW 2022 online to meet 20 people in the technology industry interested in marketing collaborations.
  • I am attending SXSW 2022 for inspiration and fun – discovering new music and ideas matters. My goal is to attend five performances or keynotes from people I have never heard before.

2) Create Your Schedule With Some Slack

Your personal SXSW 2022 schedule should strike a balance between structure and flexibility. If you are most excited about the networking potential of the event, give yourself spare time each day to arrange 1-on-1 meetings or send quick follow-up notes. As a general rule, plan to attend a maximum of three sessions per day, so you have time to follow up and avoid event burnout. 

3) Optimize Your SXSW 2022 Profile

When you attend an SXSW 2022 online event, put your best virtual foot forward. That means connecting your live chat persona to your social media accounts or a personal website. At the very least, make sure you have a professional-style photo that clearly shows your face. This setup should only take a few minutes, and it will help you connect with more people in the live chat sessions. 

4) Join Each Virtual Event Early

When possible, make an effort to join each SXSW 2022 online event early. Joining on time or slightly early is beneficial in two ways. First, you have the chance to introduce yourself by posting a short message in the live chat room. By posting early, your live chat introduction message is more likely to be read by other attendees. Second, arriving early means you’ll quickly learn any critical ground rules for the session such as how and when to ask questions.

5) Ask Good Questions In The Live Chat

Assuming the event has a formal question-and-answer portion, asking an effective question in the live chat is a major opportunity to shine and connect with others. 

To give your question the best chance of being answered by an SXSW 2022 panelist, keep these few guidelines in mind.

  • Relate your question to the event’s content. Asking a question based on something one of the speakers said in the events shows you are paying attention.
  • Keep the question brief. As a rule of thumb, avoid questions with a long preamble or that require significant context to answer. For example, asking a panelist for a resource recommendation might make sense, while asking for advice on how to solve a strategic problem in your business would not be appropriate. Keep your question to 10-20 words, and you stand a better chance of getting an answer.
  • Avoid yes or no questions. Asking this kind of question can make the panelist feel uncomfortable. 

6) Interact With Other Online Attendees 

While it is exciting to interact with the celebrity speakers at events, there is a downside to focusing exclusively on the speakers. It is relatively hard to get their attention, and there is a good chance that your question might not get answered if you are in a more significant event.

Fortunately, there are plenty of interesting people you can interact with through the live chat session. Start by looking for attendees who share common interests with you (e.g., maybe you are both from New York). In addition, attendees might ask simple questions that you can answer (e.g., what’s the title of that Seth Godin book that the speaker just mentioned?). 

7) Follow Up After The Virtual Event

In the final few minutes of each session you attend, reach out to a few interesting people. Click on their profile and follow them on social media. If the person does not have social profiles, send them a direct message through the live chat. Your initial outreach message should be short and include your contact details (e.g., email address and LinkedIn profile URL). Take your time with these messages – aim to send a handful of thoughtful messages, and you stand a better chance of getting a reply.

Build Your SXSW 2022 Schedule

Save time planning your SXSW 2022 experience by checking out our curated list of the best online events.

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