The internet has made it possible for billions of people to connect with just a click. It also made it easier to build relationships with other groups or individuals with the same goals or personalities. Virtual Networking Event platforms have taken the stage among professionals who wish to find people they can relate with.
What Is Virtual Networking Event?
Virtual networking events, like physical networking events, are social gatherings that connect people with like minds. The main difference between the two is that one is done face-to-face, while the other is through the internet. In addition, people often meet with each other through video calls.
A central person or group often organizes a networking event. These events usually have a specific purpose or theme that all participants must follow.
The following are the characteristics of virtual networking events:
- Less costly to implement
- Requires less planning
- More accessible to more people
- Internet reliability can be an issue
- Can be harder to communicate
- Fewer people can participate
The following are the characteristics of physical networking events:
- Communication between participants is easier
- More people can join at a time
- No risk of people getting disconnected
- More regulated than virtual networking events
- More costly for the participants and organizers
- Harder to organize and implement
Now that you are familiar with virtual networking events, let us talk about how you can prepare for them.
Things You Need To Have During A Virtual Networking Event
As virtual networking events are set in cyberspace, there are fewer physical things you need to bring with you when attending them. However, this does not mean that you can slack off and forget about non-physical things. Here are the things you need to bring with you when attending a virtual networking event.
Bring Your Best Self
Before clicking the join button on your event, make sure to prepare yourself mentally and physically. You need to bring your best self to the event if you want others to talk with you. The moment people realize that you are dozing off or are lost in the conversation, they may likewise lose interest in you.
Some things you can do to be in your best before the event include:
- Have a complete sleep the night before: Having a complete eight-hour sleep before your networking event will make your brain work better. You will be able to answer questions and contribute to your conversations.
- Eat and drink an hour before the event: Having food inside your stomach and being hydrated will help you think better. However, make sure to do this about an hour before the event to minimize your bathroom breaks.
- Do some vocal warm-ups: Perform some tongue twisters to make yourself speak more comfortably. Practicing your greetings can also help prevent stuttering or mumbling.
- Clean yourself up: Being clean will help you feel more confident talking with others. Although other participants will not smell you, taking a bath will improve your psyche. And don’t forget to wear clothes appropriate for the event!
Fresh Ideas About The Topic
One of the biggest mistakes of some people when attending virtual networking events is not preparing their talking points. Unfortunately, many misbelieve that networking events are purely impromptu.
Being unprepared may result in you being excluded in some parts of the conversation. People may also interpret you as not having anything to contribute to the table. Some great ideas or questions you can ask other participants are:
- Interesting facts about your own business/practice/job
- Interesting facts about your location
- How your field/industry relates to theirs
- “What field/industry are you in?”
- “How can I help you with your business/practice/job?”
- “How did you learn about the networking event?”
- “How can I connect with you in the future?”
Bring Pen And Paper
You need to take down as much key information as possible during the networking event. The “pen and paper” method is a tried and tested way of doing this.
However, in the slight chance that getting this two is impossible, using a text application on your laptop is good enough. The only downside to this is that you will need to switch between your video calling application and text application occasionally. Hence, there is a risk of you missing some things mentioned or shown while you are typing.
Virtual Business Cards
Sending virtual business cards is a great way to provide your contact information to others. Like traditional ones, virtual business cards contain:
- Your name;
- Contact information (mobile number, email, address, etc.); and
- Possibly your profession or position.
However, with virtual business cards, you can also include other elements such as your image, your portfolio, and a little background about yourself. Lastly, there are plenty of free virtual business card generators online. Some of which allow you to send your card with just a simple link. Virtual business cards will help those you meet follow up after the networking event.
Your Work Portfolio
If the purpose of your virtual networking event is for you to gain professional relationships, having your portfolio is essential. Your portfolio can include previous projects, exhibits of your skills, services, products, and more.
There are plenty of virtual portfolio platforms on the internet that you can use to create one. You can also create a simple portfolio that you can present online using Microsoft PowerPoint or other similar applications.