It’s easy to see why people don’t love the idea of virtual conferences. And virtual conferences don’t allow researchers to retreat from their everyday routines and fully immerse themselves in sharing knowledge. There is no doubt that virtual conferences in the current time of COVID-19 raise challenges for organizers, attendees and speakers. However, a number of surprising positives show how virtual conferences are not only overcoming these hurdles but also triggering a paradigm shift in how conferences of the future could look. BEST OF BOTH WORLDSUltimately, in-person and virtual conferences are not interchangeable.