In response to the ongoing global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, RICS has taken the decision not to hold any face to face RICS events, conferences, face to face training, meetings and other gatherings, initially until Friday 24 April. “Our first virtual conferences have taken place and the feedback received so far has been fantastic.” Explained Anton Riolo, head of conference production at RICS.
“We’ve had to move fast to switch events to the online format and we’ll be continuing to tweak and develop how our conferences are delivered to ensure the best possible experience for our delegates,” he added.
How did the virtual event compare to attending a conference in person?
Christian Watkins MRICS, Building Surveyor at Trident: “In terms of CPD content there was no difference, the speakers delivered the presentations in the same way and delegates were also given the opportunity to discuss and ask questions in the live chat at the end of the presentation as they usually would. The only additional benefit of attending in person that I can think of is the face to face networking opportunities.”
Rob Whittle, Business Development Director at Ensafe: “The format and Q&A seemed to work fine. We were also going to use the event to network with potential new client contacts which obviously couldn’t happen in person but RICS is helping us to make contacts.”
Oliver Scott, Assistant Quantity Surveyor at Auburn Ainsley Limited: “I hadn’t attended an RICS conference before this one, however in comparison to a University Lecture I found the online conference to be no less engaging. The conference was well structured, well communicated and had a clear process for engaging with the speakers.”
What are your thoughts on this style of conference delivery and interaction?
Christian Watkins: “I think they are great and would definitely attend one again in the future. Reducing peoples travel also has sustainability benefits.”
Oliver Scott: “I find this style of delivery to be just as engaging as attending in person. There were a couple of instances where speakers experienced some technical difficulties, however this was quickly resolved.”
Richard Martin Commercial and Legal Manager at Shepherd Construction Ltd: “This could be the way forward until the COVID-19 pandemic passes to maintain CPD.”
Tips for delegates who want to make the most of their virtual event
Christian Watkins: “The live chat was a good feature and gave everyone the opportunity to speak and interact, this is particularly beneficial to those delegates that are less keen on raising their hand and asking questions to a room full of people.
“The conference was also recorded which meant if you missed something you could go back and watch it again.
“Just check your internet connection beforehand and maybe listen to the audio through headphones for better sound quality.”
Oliver Scott: “I would firstly recommend setting up the software early, to ensure that you will be up and running straight away. I had no issues myself.
“I would also suggest noting down questions that you want to ask, and post these towards the end of the presentation.”