As most conferences and events have moved online and are probably going to be hybrid even as we can get back to meeting in person again, networking can get a little tricky when you’re trying to engage and interact with event attendees through a screen.
Networking is one of the main reasons we go to conferences in the first place! While we can’t start up a conversation with the person sitting next to us as virtual attendees, there are many ways to successfully network and get a conversation started when attending a conference virtually.
If you’re unsure about how to network successfully at a virtual event or conference, here are some helpful suggestions to successfully connect with your peers.
Setting networking goals and planning on how you will network with your peers during the event is a great way to ensure that you meet your overall networking objectives. A way to plan for who you want to network with is to research other attendees’ profiles and check them out on social media to understand more of their background. Having these set goals will help you establish what you’re looking for and how you will achieve your connections during and after the event.
Just like you will be looking up other attendees and speakers, other people will be trying to look you up as a possible connection as well. Use this as a chance to really flush out your profile with all the necessary information that will help you stand out and appeal to the other attendees. Try to link your website and social media profiles, if possible, to further help establish a connection.
Don’t be shy! Go ahead and introduce yourself to the attendees. You can do this by sharing who you are, a little bit of your background and what you do professionally. You can also add in your hobbies and other fun elements about yourself depending on the tone you want to set for the introduction. This is a great way to make people get comfortable with you and start a conversation at the event.
Speaking of social media, use your platform to share conference news and information as well as your updates on attendance and what you are looking forward to! Use event hashtags provided and start a conversation around the event to engage other speakers and attendees and create connections before the event even starts! Additionally, make sure to share follow-up posts after the event to keep continue the conversation offline.
Depending on what the event offers, try to participate in the live polls, Q/A and other live chats whenever you can. This is an easy way to chat with other attendees, ask questions and stay engaged during the conference. Some events even offer leadership boards and the ability to collect points during the event to encourage more participation among attendees. Make sure to leverage all the networking options to make the most out of the event and meet the most number of people as you can! Additionally, it’s also important that you share updates and information consistently and as much as you can to facilitate constant and consistent networking throughout the event.
Breakout sessions are another great way to have thoughtful discussions and ask important questions after a segment or speaker. Usually, you will be able to chat with the guest speakers and also have a meaningful conversation about a topic at these sessions.
Conversations and networking don’t just stop at the event. To continue to establish your connections further, make sure you follow up (politely) with the people you met at the event and see how you can further help each other with business goals, etc.
We hope these tips will help you reach your networking goals where you come out with valuable connections after the event! If you’re new to virtual events, check out how you can make money hosting a virtual event to get inspired to create your own event!
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