9 min read
Virtual networking will only be as successful as you are motivated and committed. Online networking can be as good as in-person, but only if you put in the necessary work (just think about how much work goes into putting on an in-person event 😳). The more prepared you are, the better results you are going to get.
Read along and prepare yourself to create meaningful connections at your next online networking gathering.
Virtual networking events are the future. We mean it. They’re not going to replace all the stuff that we do in person, but they open up so many possibilities to connect with people we would never have met previously. They’re a game-changer for professional networking, in particular, because you have access to anyone around the world. That’s the benefit of being location-free.
People won’t be able to connect and network with you if they don’t know who you are and do. If you share your company, role, interests, etc., then like-minded people at an event can find you and immediately know what to talk to you about.
This tip depends on the software you’re using for the virtual networking event. One cool thing about Toucan is that everyone has a profile, which we call ‘About Me’. Here, you can write a bio for yourself and share links to your social media accounts. That way, people can look into who you are before your chat, and you can easily follow up with them afterwards.
If you’re a Toucan user, make sure you fill out your profile! If you don’t, that’s a missed opportunity. Virtual events only last a couple of hours so you might not get the chance to meet everyone. That’s why social media links, emails, and website links are so important!
We mentioned before how important it is to have your social media accounts linked to your profile. But now we want to mention another bright side of social media in online networking events.
Post about any online events you’re hosting or attending on your social media accounts! And do this sooner rather than later. Create a short post mentioning the networking event that you will be attending, tag the organizer, and show how excited you are. That way, you expose the event to more people. The more people hear about it, the more people you can connect and network with.
Don’t forget that an online virtual networking event doesn’t end when you log off or close your laptop. Let us explain. After the event, it’s important to express how well things went for you. And the best way to do so is by posting about it on social media. It could also be a good idea to tag people you attended with or enjoyed meeting! That way, you maintain a touchpoint with all those people and the organizers.
If you have the ability to check an attendee list for your event, you’ve hit the virtual event jackpot. It’s so easy to use that to your advantage, looking up the other attendees and figuring out what they might like to talk about. If you do this, you’ll connect with people on a deeper level, and you’ll figure out who’s most beneficial for you to talk to during the limited time.
If this is not possible, try at least to find out more information about the speakers and hosts. That’s also a pretty good first step towards a successful virtual networking event.
Good manners and etiquette aren’t only for in-person networking events, they are also a big part of virtual networking and interactions. On Toucan, you can literally say hello and wave at everyone at the same time or at a specific person. But this is not enough - go the extra mile and introduce yourself to people. Of course, without interrupting any conversations.
A funny introduction is the perfect ice-breaker and can help you leave a good impression on others. Get out there, say your name, what you do, and what you love. And remember to smile and to enjoy every second of it!
If you want to get noticed, participate actively. And make sure that what you share is both relevant and appropriate.
If you happen to speak at the right time, you might be opening doors to new conversations and opportunities for collaboration and networking for the future. If there are breakout sessions and different areas for various conversation topics, make sure you participate and engage in them. What is great about Toucan is how you can easily move from Meeting Spot to Meeting Spot. And you can see what everyone else is doing and who is engaging with whom.
Our tip is: don’t overdo your comments. Give others the chance to speak and try to make everyone feel listened to. Sometimes it can be hard to be heard and to know when to speak, that’s why a raising hand feature comes really in hand - it is actually one of our favorite features on Toucan. It sets the tone for people to behave in a more friendly way, and it puts everybody on a more even playing field in the conversation - particularly if you are a bit on the quieter side.
At virtual events, you have opportunities for increased engagement that you wouldn’t have in in-person events - so make sure that you make use of them! Use messaging to your advantage - both private and public. You can do that online in a way that you can’t in-person; you wouldn’t whip out your phone and text someone in your group if you were at a cocktail party!
Always make sure that you start meaningful conversations, participate in ongoing discussions, and share your thoughts and ideas. After all, that’s what networking events are all about.
Make sure that you are not only focused on yourself. Networking events are great for you, and your goal is probably to expand your network. But remember to help others whenever possible. It might be the case that you could facilitate a really beneficial introduction. By doing so, you will truly be creating and nurturing a sense of community.
If you really connected and got along with someone, make sure that you take the time to send them an email or DM via social media after your virtual networking event. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back from them right away - in these cases, we always recommend that you follow up a few days later. We all get busy and forget to respond sometimes, right?
If you got along well with someone and would like to stay in touch in the future, say that outright. It is easier than we think to keep these connections going. It can be a message every month, a comment on social media, or even an invite for a virtual catch-up.
Professional relationships are as important and important to nurture as personal ones. If we don’t take care of them, they will slip away.
Now that you attended a virtual networking event, you might feel inclined to host your own. This way, you will be able to learn from your experience, tailor the agenda and guest list to your vision, and make sure that you make the best connections that you possibly can.
When you’re ready to go from attending to hosting, we can certainly help you. Our Toucan Producers are standing by with a ton of advice to help you get your event off the ground. We also have a blog filled with tips that can come in handy. We host socials on Toucan with some regularity, which can be a great opportunity for you to get in touch with us and ask us any questions you might have. And as a last resort, our inbox is always open.
We are suckers for virtual networking events because they bring so many benefits on personal, organizational, and professional levels. Plus, you get to meet people all over the world from the comfort of your own home!
We hope this piece helps you build more powerful connections during your next virtual networking event. And please know that we’re always here to help you host your events and make them smashing successes!
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Sara knows some things about marketing, has 3 cats, loves to go for hikes and organize things by color!
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