The last official breakout session that I attended was a roundtable on how to host virtual presentations. Thomas MacEntee led the session, which featured several familiar faces on stage and familiar voices joining virtually.
The session covered everything from what technologies to use (GoToMeeting was mentioned several times and was used to facilitate this particular session) to how to prep for such a presentation both as a speaker and as an attendee.
This type of presentation has become more and more popular in other spheres, but genealogy societies have struggled to offer such sessions either due to a lack of know-how, a lack of funds or a fear that it will leave out less tech-savvy members.
The message from the speakers was that virtual presentations are doable on any budget (partner with a venue like a library if your society doesn’t have the technology) and can be held in such a way that members who want to attend in-person can do so.
There are many reasons for holding virtual presentations–it can make the society accessible to far-flung members and can attract speakers who are unable to travel to the society’s location.
To quote Lisa Louise Cooke, who took part in the panel, “the genealogy landscape is going to change.” Societies need to step up and change with the times or risk becoming irrelevant.