Getting the most out of virtual events – 9 tips for networking
Most people agree on the importance of networking, even if it means getting out of your comfort zone. Networking can result in learning from experts in different fields, finding great partners and contacts and building your brand.
During the coronavirus outbreak both arranging and attending networking events can be problematic. Fortunately, there are many online/virtual events providing networking opportunities.
Networking is easier when you attend events regularly. Many events have special strategies to ease networking, but it is your own effort that will make the difference, especially when attending online/virtual events! So, follow these tips and get the most out of virtual events!
NOTE! Every virtual event is not a networking event. These tips concentrate on virtual events which aim to get participants networking with the help of a matchmaking tool (such as Brella). Enhancing the networking between participants can even be one of the main goals of some events.
NETWORKING before the virtual event
1. Set goals
Determine what you want to achieve and devise a strategy. Are you only interested in watching the keynote speech or could you also get some new contacts?
If the event organizer has made networking between participants possible, you might be able to find new partners, customers, or subcontractors for your company from the event. Or you can familiarize yourself to a new branch or organization.
It is also beneficial to set yourself a specific networking goal before the event. You can for example decide to talk to someone specific or aim to talk to five new people.
Remember to register to the event on time. Check out the event schedule and prepare your own schedule based on your interests and targets. Remember to reserve time for discussions and meetings with other participants during the event.
If there is a matchmaking tool available, use it to get to know people beforehand. You can arrange to meet people at the event, but also after the event or even before it.
Plan your introduction ahead, but make it sound natural. Rehearse you pitch, too, by reading our tips for a great pitch. In the matchmaking tool your introduction can be a bit longer but for the discussions and meetings you should modify a short and catchy version that people will remember every time they see you again.
NETWORKING during the virtual event
4. Be ready
Remember to test your connections in advance so that you still have time to fix possible problems before the event begins. Close all the other applications and browser windows to optimize the event experience. Keep an open mind for the ideas of others. Listen first and then participate in conversation instead of holding long monologues.
5. Be brave
Attend different events either alone or with a colleague. Typically, we attend virtual events alone, but of course you can do it also with a colleague or friend. If you are attending with someone, try still to make new connections and to have conversations with other people, too!
6. Be active
Make the most of the time reserved for networking. You can start a conversation by talking about the event, introducing yourself or mentioning a topical phenomenon. Be attentive and ask questions, but tell people what you are looking for, too.
7. Grow your network
Propose meetings with people you want to get in touch with. Introduce people to each other if you think they could have common business interests.
8. Use social media
Share your thoughts on social media and see what others are talking about.
NETWORKING after the virtual event
9. Keep in touch
Keep your promises and contact people after the event. Networking tool is typically available a couple of days after the virtual event but after that you can continue the discussions for example on LinkedIn or by email.
If we didn’t mention a tip you think is important, please share it on social media using the hashtag #tpevents and tagging TechnopolisHQ. Check out our event calendar for upcoming virtual events and register to attend!