10 Tips for Making Connections at Virtual Networking Events
With the internet and social media, online meetings and gatherings have become more popular and common than ever, especially in the post-COVID-19 era. If you are planning to attend an upcoming online networking event, there are a few tips to keep in mind to help maximize your reach, visibility, and your overall ability to make connections with those who matter most to your own business or venture.
Using the following networking event tips, learn how to optimize your networking experiences even when you are networking from the comfort of your own home.
Tip #1: Conduct Research
Before attending any networking event (online or locally), it is imperative to conduct adequate research on the event and the event’s invited guests and attendees ahead of time.
If possible, seek information regarding potential attendees and guest speakers, topics of discussion, as well as any other sponsors that may also be attending the same event at the same time as you.
Tip #2: Consider and Set Your Networking Goals
Any time you plan to attend an online networking event, it is important to consider and set networking goals you have in mind for your business and brand. Ask yourself the following questions before you attend any networking event, whether you choose to do so at a local venue or online:
What are my goals in terms of networking?
Why am I networking with others, and what do I hope to achieve with my newfound connections?
What type of connections am I looking for and what industry will these professionals fall in?
How can I show that my business or brand is worth the time of my new connections?
What do I have to offer in return for receiving help or promotion from another attendee at a networking event I attend?
Tip #3: Check Your AV and Internet Setup
As always, it is essential to check and verify that your audio, video, and internet are all properly set up before joining an online networking event or meeting. In some instances, it may also be a great idea to consider using a solution such as Zoom for a blurred background or to add a branded and white label (to match your brand’s logo) background of your own.
Test your internet connection ahead of time to verify that it is in proper working order before entering an online networking event.
Tip #4: Update Your LinkedIn and Online Presence
One of the best ways to increase your online reach is to do so by updating your LinkedIn and other platforms you use to promote your business or brand.
Updating your LinkedIn will help you appear more professional and active in the professional networking community, which may help you once you meet others via an online networking event.
Tip #5: Mingle with All Attendees
While you may find yourself drawn to a particular individual or group of attendees during an online networking event, it is important to take the time to mingle with as many attendees as possible. Even those who may not initially appear to have anything in common with you or your business may bring something unexpected to the table.
Taking the time to mingle with everyone will provide you with as many potential opportunities as possible, even opportunities you were not expecting.
Tip #6: Quick Engagement Matters
Whenever you attend an online networking event, the ability to engage quickly goes a long way, especially if you are limited with the time you have to spend with each attendee. Knowing exactly how you intend to introduce yourself, what you plan to promote, and which questions you want to ask those you network with can help streamline getting to know others while allowing you to make as much progress as possible.
When you can mingle without wasting time, you can maximize your reach and ability to connect with others, even if you plan to connect with hundreds of individuals in one evening.
Tip #7: Find Things in Common
Finding things in common when you are mingling and networking is the fastest way to solidify and remember a new connection.
Ask questions and engage those you are networking with, so they feel comfortable opening up to you and even potentially working with you in the future. The more you have in common with strangers, the easier it will be to make deals and work together.
Tip #8: Ask Questions to Increase Engagement
Whenever you join in on an online networking event, it is important to ask questions to keep those you connect with engaged. Asking questions will also demonstrate your willingness to listen to others, which can help your new connections to remember you even better.
Tip #9: Find a Way to Remember Individual Connections
Each time you make a new connection, even when doing so via an online networking event, consider how you will remember the individual yourself.
Because your online event may have you interacting and engaging with hundreds of people, it can easily become challenging to remember who you were talking to in the first place. Using certain reminders relative to an individual’s name, position, or even something directly related to their personality that helps them to stand out can all assist you in remembering connections.
Tip #10: Organize New Connections as Fast as Possible
Once you make connections during a virtual networking event, it is important to organize them as quickly as possible. Remembering everyone’s names, companies, and professional titles can quickly become overwhelming if you do not take the time to organize your connections and their names every step of the way. Whether you prefer storing contacts on your phone, using a traditional Rolodex organizer, or if you prefer to use a cloud service, be sure to store your new connections somewhere to remember them for future references.
With the right networking event tips, learn how to gauge and engage with event attendees in a natural, yet inviting manner. Discover how to properly connect with potential partners, investors, and business associates even while networking remotely and through various online platforms and communities. With an understanding of how to best approach online networking events, you can easily make the connections you need for any business goal you have set in place.