Covid-19 has caused a lot of lifestyle changes in terms of how people live, how people work and how they run their businesses. One such change that we have witnessed is a shift from in=person events to virtual events. Since March 2020, people have had to adapt to digital media to attend meetings, seminars, events and different business occasions. It seemed impossible to create a link and connection from the people we meet online. One thing that everyone is missing is the casual meet up and business card exchange at the cafeteria, pre and post the event. Here are eight best practices that you can apply to shift your usual strategies of building a connection offline into a virtual reality.
- Set networking goals
While you are in an event it is important to have a clear goal before you start networking with your potential clients. Know the reason behind why you are networking in the first place. Do you want to disclose your new product? Or is it to reach people from the industry? Are you attending the event to acquire critical knowledge that will help you grow your business? You must ask yourself these set of questions as this may help you come up with a suitable plan on how you are pursuing your networking goals.
- Provide value as much as you can
Networking when done correctly can benefit both sides of the party while also allowing healthy and empowering relations with your target brands and audience in return. However, in terms of acquiring value, you must provide value to your potential audiences. You must know what you are willing to offer or bring on the table before you start building connections. With this you can contribute to the network and at the same time strengthen your position.
One must always keep in mind that, the more you provide value the more your networking appeal. Offer qualified leads. This can be a big gig for you to do business with interested people while also enabling other networkers the opportunity to start something new.
- Make impactful introductions
The digital setting must not stop you from giving an impactful introduction about yourself. So what, that you are not able to meet and network in person, those networks can still connect to you, if you leave a good digital impression on them. Always follow ethical and best practice to introduce yourself and take proper introduction from people around you. Show a thumbs up when it’s appropriate and write clear and concise information about why you thought that it would be beneficial for meeting one another. Virtual era is giving us opportunities to meet new people beyond our small circles. Grab it!
- Utilise the networking tools offered by the platform
Virtual networking tools offered by many platforms can become a great resource for your organisation. How? Let’s find out!
What is the main motive behind attending a networking event? To build connections and interact with like minded people right? So how will you do that? Simple, by optimizing user-friendly tools that may help you reach your target audience. An interface must have these interacting features as follow-
1- Networking table which allows attendees to have a 1:1 or group meeting
2- Customisable networking lounge for exhibitors and sponsors
3- Live audio/video chat
4- Request callback feature
5- Live tech chat
A platform must also have the ability to schedule a direct appointment with people to deliver an immersive networking experience that closely inclines real-time human interaction during the event while also offer you the same look and feel of in-person events
- Inculcate gamification tools for a more immersive networking opportunity
Gamification is another tool that digital event managers are using to build engagement. This exuberant feature enables participants to hook themselves in an exciting online scavenger hunt, bingo, or trivia that the event hosts organise. Gamification tools curate a room of maximising the audience figure and at the same time engage them all in real time. This also gives you an opportunity to showcase your skill set to your business acumen. There are many platforms providing a lot of options for gamifying your virtual event. Starting from a basic photo studio to scavenger hunt.
- Share interesting and informative facts with the online community:
Try and get the most out of the virtual event that you attend by sharing unique and informative facts regarding the niche that the event is being conducted on. This will raise more discussions and help you build your stamp in the event. The articles, blog posts or infographics that you share need not be something original, it can be shareable content already available on the internet. This will help you make your presentation more trustworthy and obviously create proof of work. While sharing these facts you may use a tool of questionnaire and take a real time survey of the attendees. This will make you look out of the box!
- Network in all directions
Why limit your networking circle when you have a bunch of networkers around you. Diversity your network to expand your reach and build better relationships with people all around the world.
- ALWAYS FOLLOW-UP WITH NEW NETWORKS:
Keep in touch with all the expanded networks while the event is afresh in the mind of your co-attendees. A scientifically proven fact says, it takes three days to build a good impression and to stay in front of a particular new network. Be sure that you take the following steps:
- Send an Email to your event-build contacts with a thank you note and request them for a further conversation.
- Search for the social media wall of the event and connect with the individuals who have posted something about the event.
- Check if your networks are there on linkedin. Connect with them on that professional platform.
- If you are trying to connect someone else also might be trying to connect to you. Make sure that you regularly check emails and connection requests from the very same event.
OVER TO YOU:
Working virtually must not trickle your potential to convert a network into your beneficiary of the business. Make the effort of being digitally visible. With changing times, the world may totally shift into this cloud-based technique of meeting. So try and build a tech-savvy nature and ensure that you use these techniques of building networks virtually.