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SeKON’ference Corner: Virtual Edition

Laptop displaying virtual conference call next to flowers and a coffee cup.

SeKON’ference Corner: Virtual Edition

Much like transitioning work from office to home, a staple of business development (BD) has followed suit.

Due to COVID-19, trade conferences, educational seminars, and government-to-industry events have all gone virtual, allowing for similar content delivery with limited potential for exposure. What formerly involved hours spent walking exhibition halls, shaking hands, and talking face-to-face of capabilities and opportunities has now become an exercise in ensuring you have the correct conference platform pre-loaded – WebEx, Zoom, or Skype – and hoping everyone on the presenter’s side has done the same.

Unfortunately, not everyone has confirmed the location of or knows how a mute button is operated.

Since joining SeKON in July 2020, I have attended many virtual events with fellow BD teammates, Theodora and Tiphanie. Whether it is for large contract vehicle opportunities, such as DHMS’s Workforce 3.0 and NITAAC’s CIO-SP4, or more Cyber-centric events, such as the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy or Dark Reading’s bi-weekly training offerings, Government and Industry have stepped up to ensure that content is still being made available and distributed to partners.

What has changed (for the negative – in my opinion) is that the necessary switch to virtual does not allow for one of the most important features of old school conferences – meeting face to face with Government and industry peers. Some events have made an honest attempt to create “virtual exhibition halls” where you “visit” sponsors’ booths (modified webpages) to see featured products and services. While this is a decent approach to give sponsors something akin to the old exhibit hall, the missing element is the interaction. Viewing a static webpage will not replace live meetings with peers. Maybe going forward, we will see more interactive features installed in such exhibition halls. Perhaps features like an instant message capability or a hot link to a live conversation will bring back some of the give and take of exhibits past.

Be that as it may, and despite the lack of interaction, virtual conferences, trainings, and seminars are here to stay – and the SeKON BD team will be present to seek new business and growth opportunities.

Contributed by Dwight DeCoskey, Director of BD and Proposal Operations