Purposeful participating presence

Planning for the virtual World Statistics Congress 2021 continues. The final testing of the online submission system is occurring now. While I participated in multiple online conferences this summer, I recently had the pleasure of meeting (online!) with organizers of the Bernoulli-IMS One World Conference, Siva Athreya, Leif Döring (chair), Andreas Kyprianou, Jean-Christophe Mourrat, Christian Robert.

Let me emphasize insights these colleagues shared and suggest what you might do to prepare yourself for getting the most from a virtual conference.

First, align your expectations with an important reality: virtual conferences are not simply an on-screen version of everything you did or experienced in a face-to-face conference. Not only will virtual meetings be different from face-to-face meetings, they should be!

Second, embrace the exciting opportunity afforded by a virtual conference: the virtual WSC will allow for the participation for a larger and more diverse community of practitioners, professionals and students than could ever attend a face-to-face meeting.

Third, the software to support these events is getting better with each passing day so don’t assume a frustrating past virtual experience will be a future reality.

Finally, the best experience for participants will emerge from being intentional about participating in the conference.

Photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

How to attend a virtual meeting

Purposeful – If you have attended conferences in the past, you had to make travel plans, leave away messages and tell colleagues that you were not available during the conference. Plan to do this again for WSC 2021! You will be using a virtual system and interface that may be new to you. Learn about the conference system you will be using before the meeting begins.

Participating – The best conferences allow you to interact with colleagues in your sector of work or area of research, meet new people and develop as a professional. You will get the most from the WSC 2021 by being intentional about identifying these opportunities to participate. Research sessions of greatest interest to you, determine ‘coffee hours’ when you can meet new people, and invite friends you would normally see at meetings to join you for a virtual lunch or dinner.

Presence – Plan to be involved. You are the most important part of any World Statistics Congress. Consider how you can best participate. Block out your calendars now for WSC 2021, 11–16 July 2021. Spend your days with ISI and Association colleagues. You will still get to enjoy the evenings with your family and friends but save your days for the conference.

Let me close this reflection with one last ‘participating’  comment. You should now have received your electronic ballot for the election of the next set of ISI Executive Committee members and ISI Council members. I am incredibly grateful to all of these talented individuals for their willingness to serve and interest in providing their leadership to ISI. Review their statements and vote now!

Finally, join me in celebrating the 100th birthday of 1977–79 ISI President, Professor Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao (date of birth: 10 September 1920). Professor Rao’s foundational contributions to the discipline of statistics continue to be celebrated. His career spanned work in India, the United States and other parts of the globe, and we are honored to recognize him as a leader of our community.

John Bailer (@john_bailer)
ISI President

4 comments on this post

  1. Thanks for your leadership, John! I am eagerly looking forward to the virtual WSC.

  2. I have already marked WSC 2021 on my calendar would it be physical or virtual. While physical is definitely better on my opinion for meeting friends and former colleagues, refreshing acquaintances the virtual brings you straight to the topic.

    Looking forward to the first virtual WSC!

  3. Excellent letter, John. Congratulations. I think that this type of message will be crucial to help make WSC 2021 a great congress!

    1. Excellent letter Dear President John. Congratulations. I think that kind of message help ISI members to encourage strong community as well make WSC 2021 a great congress.

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