In post-pandemic times, online networking has become almost the only way to make useful contacts, enlist someone's support to complete your business tasks, and exchange experiences. This is a new reality that we need to get used to. Whether you're pursuing personal or business goals, in this article we've put together some effective tips to help you network effectively during a virtual event.
Preset Your Networking Goals
The first step to successful online networking is setting your goals clearly. So what goals do you want to achieve by making contacts with certain people? Answer this question in order to understand who you need to look for among the conference participants, how you better start acquaintance and get to the heart of the question.
For example, your networking goals might be:
get to know the HR manager of a certain company in order to establish yourself as an ideal candidate for an open position
meet local business owners to create partnerships and survive the coronavirus crisis
meet the owners of reliable online sites to place your guest posts in exchange for a valuable content
meet experts to find a mentor among them
Check the List of Attendees
If possible, check the list of participants in advance. This will help you hit the target more accurately and establish contact with those conference participants who can give you the greatest value, and, consequently, who will be interested in what you have to offer them.
Once you've identified the people you are interested in, prepare so-called hooks to start a conversation and get their attention. For example, during a discussion, you can ask a question or leave a comment, plus tag a certain participant and ask him for his opinion. This is a great move because people like to feel important.
Also, you can prepare several questions for each of the participants, which will also allow you to start a meaningful conversation.
Take Part in the Discussion
Most likely, the online conference in which you will participate provides time for communication between the participants. Use it wisely, as this is the most promising chance to start an acquaintance and continue a dialogue with someone you are interested in.
If the conference involves live communication online, then the best strategy is to initiate it first. For example, you can ask the most logical question addressed to all participants - what are your impressions of the conference? This will help you start a more meaningful dialogue with those you are interested in.
Or, you can wait for your turn to speak up and ask such a question, the answer to which can be given by the person with whom you want to meet and establish contact. In this case, you need to think over the list of possible questions in advance, since the limited time for discussion will not leave a single extra second for thinking.
Share Meaningful Comments With a Link to Your Social Media
In order to attract the attention of potential contacts, you can leave comments during the conference. However, your comments should be meaningful, and engaging since an online conference is not a place for mindless spam. You can also organically insert a link to your social media profile, inviting members to join you for even more useful content.
Prepare a Pitch
So, we come to the most important advice. Once you've established contact with the right people, it's time to get down to business. To do this, you need a pitch - a short but concise and meaningful value proposition.
Start your pitch with a very short story about you, tell them who you are and what you do. Next, go back to your goal and explain to your new contact how you can be useful to each other, how you see mutually beneficial cooperation or partnership, in other words, state your goal directly, but do not forget to give something in return. The essence of networking is to be useful to each other on mutually beneficial terms, and your pitch is just a story about what the potential benefits of your acquaintance are.
If you find it difficult to find the right words, you can find a professional writer from the top writers list to help you draft an informative and selling pitch at the same time.
Stay Tuned Into the Upcoming Virtual Events
Virtual networking is an ongoing process. Therefore, stay tuned for new events and actively participate both in conferences from leading organizers in your industry and in events initiated by newcomers. This will help you establish an even stronger bond with the people you met at previous events, plus get a lot of new useful contacts.
Subscribe to newsletters from people and companies that organize online events in your niche, follow their updates on social networks, and most importantly, participate in conferences live instead of watching the recordings.
Look For the Opportunity to Become a Speaker
What is the advantage of participating in a virtual event as a speaker? That's right, this is a great opportunity to be in the spotlight and share your expertise. In this case, it is not you, but all the other participants who want to network with you. Therefore, if networking automation, so to speak, is another of your goals, look for opportunities to take part in a virtual event as a speaker.
To do this, contact the organizers of conferences and webinars and talk about what value you can offer to the audience. Find an interesting and relevant topic that you are well versed in and that will be in demand among potential participants. Next, make a plan for your presentation with key messages so that the organizers can immediately evaluate your contribution. And do not forget to share your contact information so that everyone can contact you after the end of the conference.
Networking at a virtual event is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance. So far, this is a fairly new and forced communication format, but very soon this approach will become quite traditional. Start expanding your network of professional contacts now, and after a few successful conferences, you will see what works best for your goals.