INSIDE: Knowing how to attend an online networking event with so many people working from home is more important than ever these days. Here you’ll learn about the different types of online networking events, technical requirements, best practices, and how to find the best ones.
The world of work is changing. More and more companies are taking their products online, many people have traded their cubicle for a home office, and the typical work meeting has gone virtual. And more and more people are starting small business from home.
Many of us are starting to get used to running regular in-person events online. From virtual happy hours with coworkers to virtual game nights, getting things done online has become the new norm.
The same is true when it comes to networking. Many conferences and events have pivoted and moved their regular in-person events to the virtual environment. While it is wonderful that we can still “attend” these events, it is an adjustment.
Survive in a virtual environment
For some, the virtual environment is missing. There’s no face-to-face interaction, no handshakes (eww, remember when we did this?), and it can be hard to read people through a screen at times.
For others, perhaps the more introverted types, an online networking environment might be preferred. Attending a virtual event can feel less intimidating and stressful.
Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of appreciating a virtual event, this is our new reality… at least for now. So let’s talk about how to get the most out of your online networking experience. What kinds of virtual networking events are out there, what are the benefits and challenges associated with an online environment, and what do you need to ensure a successful online experience?
Types of Online Networking Events
What does an online networking event look like and how can you spot one?
Online networking events come in tons of different forms. Some examples include:
- virtual happy hours
- Online Industry Seminars
- Virtual lunch and learn
- Online coffee chats
- virtual conferences
- Online webinars
Basically, an online networking event includes any online communication where you are expanding your social or business network.
How to network online?
There are so many ways to form new connections online, and you don’t necessarily need to search virtual events. With social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter, you can take networking into your own hands.
If you want to start networking online, but aren’t sure how to go about it, here are some super simple and effective tips.
Join an online group
Let’s say you’re a freelance writer and you want to network to find new clients and boost your business. independent career. Go on Facebook and find an online group for freelance writers. Here you can find your people. You can ask for tips and advice, and sometimes other freelancers post jobs that are outside of their niche writing area or that they don’t have the time to complete.
If you have a specific niche area that you specialize in, such as healthcare, technology, or finance, you can search for specific groups where you can connect with professionals in healthcare, technology, and finance. These are your potential customers.
You can add value by providing helpful feedback to someone’s social media post or sharing your latest article with praise if you loved it. You can also leave a comment on your favorite blogger’s site with some helpful suggestions or ideas. All of these things will help you connect with people you are interested in meeting and help you build your network in a natural way.
Connect on social networks
Follow or connect with people on LinkedIn, Twitter, or any other social media platform. Target the people in your industry you’d like to connect with, be strategic. Start a conversation, like their posts, support them, and be consistent. If you like someone’s post every month or two, it won’t be very memorable.
Benefits of online networking events
While you may prefer to attend a networking event the old-fashioned way (you know, in person), there are many benefits to attending an online networking event.
- no trips – I suppose this could be a pro or con, depending on your love or disdain for traveling. If you’re more of a homebody, you might really enjoy the fact that you can do all your networking from home. No trains, planes or cars, just open your laptop and go.
- lowest cost– Now that you’ve eliminated any major travel, you’re already saving money on plane tickets, car rides, or gas. Online events also eliminate the need for expensive accommodations, meals out, and conference attire. Not to mention, the cost of online networking events (conference fee, webinar cost, etc.) tends to be less money because they are cheaper to host. When there’s no expensive venue, expensive speaker accommodations, or fancy dinner parties to host, these events can be held for much less.
- less stressful – This is especially true if you are very introverted and get overwhelmed by large groups at some networking events. Plus, if you’re showing up at a networking event, you may find it less intimidating to talk online from the comfort of your own home.
- More time – Attending a networking event in person can be time consuming. From getting ready to go to traveling to and from the event, or even traveling to a faraway conference. Online networking events or virtual meetings It can be incredibly efficient because all you have to do is dress from the waist up and walk into your home office.
Technical requirements to attend an online networking event
There is always the possibility of technical problems in virtual networking events. However, I have to say that this potential also exists in in-person networking events. How many times have you witnessed a speaker struggle to show his slideshow while the audience waits patiently? These things happen either virtual or in person.
So what do you need to set yourself up for a successful online networking experience, from a technical perspective? How can you avoid annoying technical problems in the middle of a virtual conference?
A good Wi-Fi connection is essential for virtual conferences and networking events. You don’t want to lose your audio or video in the middle of a conversation.
Take a practice run
Before attending a virtual network or recruitment event, do a practice run. Make sure you know how to properly log in and use the online platform. Take a look at the different interactive features on offer. Can you screen share, annotate documents, is there a chat box?
By playing and familiarizing yourself with the platform before the virtual event, you won’t feel as intimidated during the actual event and can focus all your attention on connecting with others.
Invest in a headset
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time online, a good headset can be invaluable. This can create a better audio experience for you, and can often make your voice clearer to people on the other side of the screen.
Know how to get out of the silence
I can’t count the number of times someone in an online meeting or event has asked a question only to be met with complete silence before, “Oh, sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to get out of the silence.” Bahhhh If you want to make a good impression, make sure you know how to turn on the sound before your big networking event.
Ways to Find Networking Events Online
Ok, so now we know how to attend an online marketing event, but how the heck do we find such events? Here are some other places you can visit.
I don’t know about you, but my starting point for any search is always Google. Enter any industry- or topic-specific terms and then “online networking events.” So, for example, if you want to search for network events for virtual assistants You could search for “virtual assistant virtual networking events”. Viola, you should have some good finds in your search results.
online networking sites
You can check big networking sites like eventbrite or Meeting. These sites can help you find events related to your industry, interest, and location.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media platform, you can use these tools to find great networking events. following the better business or people in your area of interest that you can see when they are running virtual events. Trust me, they will post this type of information on their social media. You can also join different groups on social media to connect with people in similar industries.
Your current network: Don’t forget to take advantage of your existing network of family, friends, and business connections. Send a quick hello or comment on one of their posts. While networking is about making new personal and business connections, it’s also about nurturing the ones you already have.
be yourself and have fun
Love it or hate it, networking is an important part of growing your business or career. As the world moves online, there are many new and creative opportunities to network with people from all over the world, all from the comfort of your own home. So brush your hair, put on your prettiest shirt, and join your fellow attendees for a virtual coffee or happy hour. You never know how you are going to find each other and what kind of opportunity you can offer each other.
–By Jessica Martel