Almost the entire world has started shifting events to virtual meeting platforms. Be it educational programs, entertainment, or even corporate virtual events. Other than a few bumps, the transition has mostly been quite smooth. Speakers and attendees can join various conferencing platforms; they can see and hear each other, the same information can be distributed, and so on.
However, there is one crucial part that hasn’t translated just as well though, and that is networking. So, here are tips for event management companies to make networking easier and more successful in their next events.
1. Think About Why You Want to Network
Before you worry about how you will network, you need to think about why you want to network. Take some time to really think about the goals you wish to accomplish by networking at this virtual event. Do you need investors for your business? Are you looking to switch to another job? Do you plan to explore a different field or career and need guidance?
When you know your networking goals, you can start working on how you plan to achieve them. You can think about which people will be most beneficial in helping you build that network and the best way to approach them. You can focus on finding other ways to connect with them as well, beyond corporate virtual events.
2. Create Detailed Profiles
People don’t really want to connect with strangers. They want to connect and build a network with people whom they know about. Therefore, if you are joining a virtual event with just your name and perhaps a vague title, it will definitely be hard to network during the event.
Instead, what you need to do is create a detailed profile with your background, experience,
achievements, etc. This way, you get a chance to really showcase and highlight your special abilities, which can attract people and make it easier to network with you. You can even link your social media profile so that other attendees can find you later on. This will
not only help other people reach you but will help you reach other people as well. You can go
through the profiles of other attendees, and this will give you an idea of what everyone is like and who you really need to connect with during the event.
3. Participate in Discussions
Networking is all about making yourself visible and approachable. One of the most effective ways to do this is by participating in discussions and Q&A sessions as much as possible. Especially if you are attending a large virtual event, you may not have the chance to introduce yourself to everyone personally.
Therefore, you need to utilize discussions and forums to put yourself out there while also
contributing to the event. You can ask questions to initiate a debate and comment on other’s
opinions to start a conversation. This way, you can build some rapport during the event, which
makes any future collaboration much easier. Moreover, by participating in these discussions, you also get a chance to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge in the subject, which can again make it easier to network with other people. Just remember to limit your participation to one or two questions or comments. You don’t want to take up all the space in the event and leave a bad impression on people.
4. Start with a Small Group
You don’t need to instantly have 100 or 200 contacts saved and ready to collaborate with. The idea is to build connections with people with whom you can build meaningful relationships. Therefore, a good tip is to start networking by making a small group.
The good part is that most virtual meeting platforms allow the use of private rooms or private chats. So, you can message people asking a question about something the speaker said or perhaps your own opinion on the subject. This way, you can start conversations with multiple people till you have a small community already.
5. Use Your Social Media
In today’s era of social media, you can use your social media profiles as an important networking tool as well. For starters, make sure you share your participation in the event before it takes place and after it has ended as well. You can use the proper hashtags and event pictures in your posts to reach a wider audience. Sharing on social media can help you get in touch with people who also plan to attend the event or have attended it already. This way, you can start networking way before the virtual event. If there are people who have attended the event in the past, you can ask them for some personal networking tips as well.
You can even encourage other people to join the event with your posts.
Once the event is over, you can again use your social media profiles to talk about your experience and what you learned. This also gives people an opportunity to connect with you and ask about the event.
6. Follow Up!
The most important tip for successful networking is following up after the event! Once the corporate event management companies have wrapped up the event, don’t think your networking stops there. You also have to follow up with all the connections you made, or else all your effort will go down the drain. Classify your connections into three groups:
- People with whom you don’t exactly have any connection but still want to stay in touch with.
- People with whom you have some mutual interests and with whom you could collaborate in the future.
- People who have a lot of the same interests and goals and with whom you want to form deeper relationships.
Once you classify your connections, start following up with them by dropping them an email.
Ideally, you should do this within a day or two after the event so any that conversations you had are fresh in their mind.
Networking is certainly a crucial part of any corporate event. However, just because it is taking place on a virtual platform does not mean you can’t network with people and share contact information.
Sarah Hill is a content writer at Seven Events Ltd, a leading event management company in
Birmingham offering event planning and venue finding services. She started her career in the events industry almost a decade ago as time progressed she became an avid event blogger sharing her insight on corporate event planning.