What It's Like Attending a Virtual Wellness Conference

18.09.20 06:06 PM By Motion Connected

There are many words we think of when we look back on the first half of 2020. Uncertainty, change, disruption - but there's one word used most in the world of work and conferences... virtual.


I recently had the opportunity to attend the virtual, National Wellness Institute's (NWI) 45th Annual National Wellness Conference.


Being 100% virtual was an interesting new experience for me.

Fortunately,  NWI ensured it went smoothly - with 1 click, you entered the main conference ‘room’ with the other attendees for the day. You didn’t have to click or follow-through to anything else – once you entered, you were ‘in’ the room for the presentations, automatically filtered into small-group breakout sessions, and then put back in the main ‘room’ for the next session. 

The conference was comprised of 3 parts:

1. Key-note speakers - each introduced by a wellness expert that hyped everyone up 

2. breakout sessions - recorded sessions with loads of continuing education content with the ability to ask the presenter questions

3. A ‘happiness hour’ to end each day


There were many opportunities to network with peers through the small group breakout sessions, where about 15-20 attendees were automatically grouped into a chat room with a facilitator, for a 20-30 minute discussion on a wellness topic.  The ‘happiness hour’ worked the same way, with 2, 30-minute sessions to wrap-up the day.

A couple of breaks were scheduled into the day, and with informational videos playing in the background.  After lunch, a 15-minute ‘get up and stretch’ was facilitated for the attendees.

The conference itself ran through Zoom, with an online learning portal to access to the presentations, speaker handouts, program guide, conference resources, virtual tote-bag and additional recorded content.


The conference ‘chat’ feature was the biggest game-changer and has made me re-think attending conferences in-person in the future.  

Attendees were able to comment, ask questions to the presenter in real time, provide links and resources, and connect.  It made the presentation so much more interactive (instead of passively sitting in a conference room taking notes or watching a screen).  The majority of participants also shared their camera, making the personal connection by seeing each other.

In short, I came out of the past two days motivated, inspired, excited and fulfilled with a long list of action items that I am still trying to wrap my head around (and I haven’t even dove in to the recorded sessions yet!).  

I have felt this way after attending the previous two years of National Wellness Conference and this year is no different attending virtually.  

Thank you, NWI for capturing that spirit and applying it to a virtual setting.  The speakers were all amazing and timely.  The chat feature amplified the experience. The small group breakouts were fun, personal and connecting.


Amanda Rudd 

Senior Wellness Strategist