Networking has always been a key aspect of event planning and management. People need to socialize and connect with others across different industries due to their basic need for socialization. 2020 has fundamentally changed the way we all think about virtual events and virtual event networking for the better. The limitations of time, space, and finances have been swept aside. Attending events virtually offers you the chance to meet inspirational influencers and thought leaders in the industry and become aware of the latest trends.
Meaningful interactions are the key to successful networking. However, meeting new people, whether online or offline, can be exciting as well as nerve-wrenching, especially if it is your first time attending these events. For us at FLOOR, the most important tip we have seen work again and again when it comes to making the most of our networking efforts is setting a clear goal early on.
When setting your virtual networking goals, ask yourself these questions:
- Who is the most important person (brand) I want to connect with? By identifying your ideal networking persona, you eliminate other options that may not help you to achieve your over-arching goal of attending the event. And, it makes your networking efforts much more purposeful.
- How do I find them? In most cases, virtual event organizers provide attendees with a list of attendees. Days before the summit, you can go through the list to organise networking targets.
- How many people can I really connect to in a meaningful way? While it may be tempting to want to talk to as many people as possible at the event, it is often recommended to set a specific number. This way, you can focus entirely on having great conversations and not just going through the numbers.
7 Tips To Facilitate Effective Networking at Your Next Virtual Event
Virtual event networking isn’t much different from in-person networking, but there are some differences that can be key to your ROI and the quality of relationships you forge.
Let’s look at 7 tips to facilitate networking at your next virtual event.
1. Craft a Great Attendee Profile
Participants are encouraged to create profiles so they can search and connect with virtual networking organizers. You can highlight your unique skills and experiences by writing one. A well-crafted statement makes you memorable and makes you stand out.
Furthermore, you can meet people who are looking for business partners or prospects. If there are event profile fields, be sure to provide all the essential information to attract attention, make sure your attendee profile highlights your unique skills, interests, and experiences. If possible, you should also connect your social media accounts. Connecting them is a quick way to attract new followers and engage your network.
The benefits of virtual networking go far beyond simply substituting in-person networking. It allows professionals to interact and make new connections, and possibly even advance their careers, all from the comfort of their own homes and on their own schedules.
2. Build a Small Community
Engage in side conversations with attendees by using the private messaging features on the event platform. With virtual events, you are not restricted to having private conversations during presentations, unlike in-person events.
Even when a live session is taking place, you can engage in private conversations with other participants. You can start by asking your connections about what they thought of what the speaker said. Having side conversations can help build trust with the new contact and show that you value their opinions.
3. Leverage Social Media
Social media is an important part of networking online, so be sure to post before and after your virtual event. Make a post about the event you’re going to attend. As a participant, describe your expectations by expressing your interest and enthusiasm. This may lead you to discover other attendees or encourage others to register.
To categorize your posts and increase engagement, use event hashtags. Then, you can decide if you want to join a discussion by clicking on them. Check if the organizers have created an event page and join it for updates. You will find the most important updates on this page.
To learn more about other speakers and attendees, social media can be a valuable tool. As a networking activity, it can be one of the best ways to start engaging and building relationships before the event begins.
4. Reach Out To Other Participants
In virtual events, an icebreaker is usually performed to welcome attendees and warm up the discussion while you wait for others to join. While all attendees interact with the host, it would be difficult for them to engage with each other.
Especially when someone reaches out to share something, be willing to listen and respond. The more you open yourself up, the more opportunities you will have. Listening to others builds new relationships and at the same time makes people feel good, too.
5. Take Part In Discussions
Taking part in the planned activities is the fastest way to make your presence felt at virtual events. With your insightful comments, you can start conversations with other attendees, which could lead to future collaborations or partnerships.
Establish your credibility by participating in breakout sessions and sharing your industry knowledge. Be careful not to overdo your enthusiasm when sharing ideas. Ideally, you should provide some comments or ask a few questions per session. This way, other participants have the opportunity to ask questions and share their insights during the discussion.
6. Ask For Contact Details
To achieve virtual networking goals and build relationships after a virtual event, you will need attendees’ contact information. There is a high probability that a host will ask attendees for their contact information. Make sure you get the contact information of the people you want to connect with before the event ends.
Be sure to check out FLOOR’s Speed Networking feature if you want to host or participate in a speed networking event where you can expand your business contacts.
Using a networking platform, you can join event rooms, engage in one-to-one chatting or video conferencing, and exchange digital business cards. Other state-of-the-art networking features make it suitable for anyone who wants to virtually connect online and make meaningful connections within a short period of time.
7. Follow Up
Following up after an event is the most important tip to successful networking. You don’t have to stop networking once corporate event management companies have wrapped up the event. If you don’t follow up with the connections you made, then all your efforts will be for nought. Classify your connections into three groups:
- Those with whom you don’t exactly have any connection, but still want to stay connected.
- Those with whom you share some mutual interests and with whom you may collaborate in the future.
- Those with whom you want to build deeper relationships and who have a lot of the same interests and goals.
Start by contacting them via email once you have classified your connections. It is best to do this within a day or two of the event to keep any conversations fresh in their minds.
Networking events can offer fresh ideas and different perspectives to your organization. Whether online or in-person, networking is about focusing on other people and sharing your knowledge freely with them.
While virtual events do not allow for face-to-face networking, careful planning and a little effort can go a long way towards ensuring that you network effectively. You open yourself to the opportunity to easily connect with other professionals from the comfort of your own home when you engage in a virtual networking experience. If you are planning to host a virtual event, book a demo with our experts, and we’ll guide you in the process.