What is virtual networking
The process of forming a mutually advantageous relationship with other people, future clients or consumers during a virtual event is known as virtual networking. The intangible benefits of engaging with other experts in or related to your field are known as virtual networking benefits.
Networking activities often produce the best outcomes. There are numerous other benefits to networking, the most significant of which is the opportunity to share expertise.
Virtual networking is no exception. It is done on a virtual networking platform, like expertshare, where attendees can connect with other like-minded people virtually.
Benefits of virtual networking
To reap the benefits of a virtual network, you must first understand what business networking benefits you can obtain and how they can assist your company in increasing sales, increasing efficiency and morale, and increasing brand awareness.
Virtual networks offer companies a variety of benefits to have a positive impact on their businesses, employees, as well as business partners. It also makes it easy to build relationships with new people globally. Additionally, you can strengthen the already existing relationships between business partners and colleagues.
Thus, virtual networking helps to:
- Build mutually beneficial relationships with like-minded people
- Maintain contact with existing business partners and colleagues
- Communicate with people who share your interests
- Establish contact with new business partners
- Collect additional information and viewpoints
- Strengthen employee loyalty and morale
- Assist in the sales of products
- Increase Brand awareness
What is significant in virtual networking?
Purposeful virtual networking has many benefits. It brings individuals and companies together, allowing for effective collaborations and breakthroughs. However, not all networking events are successful. Understanding your potential attendees and using engaging networking event ideas to organize and execute the entire event is essential to hosting an interesting virtual event.
Moreover, if you’re not cautious, these virtual events can deteriorate into boring, one-way lectures, with lots of attendees nodding off or scanning their phones! Without prompts to encourage attendees to mix, they may wind up keeping in their own social bubble, chatting with people they already know.
The right introduction of virtual networking ideas
What is important in virtual networking is to provide a space where your attendees feel comfortable. To be successful, event planners must think of new ways to make such gatherings as engaging, entertaining, and fruitful as possible. Therefore, each attendee should always have the opportunity and motivation to actively participate in the event.
Before the virtual or hybrid event, you should decide what you want to achieve with the event. The question of what impression you want your event to leave on your attendees is essential because it will help you to strengthen your relationship or the relationship of your attendees with each other, and thus strengthen the cooperation to achieve your goals.
Event planners should also convey what essential features will be available and provide instructions ahead of time as a best practice. Attendees will be able to acquaint themselves with the platform ahead of time, and fully utilize the features that will assist them in achieving their event objectives.
Read also: How to host a virtual networking event
4 Virtual Networking Ideas
Here are 5 simple virtual networking ideas that are easy to replicate on expertshare, and can be hosted without the need for any additional equipment:
1. Personal 1:1 chats or video calls
One-to-one conversations can be more meaningful as it helps you connect more deeply than when you are in a group. For example, attendees can be randomly paired and have five minutes to exchange ideas. After that, they are randomly paired again, and are given five minutes again. To give the conversations more fire, the time can be reduced with each conversation. The second one could be four minutes, then three minutes, and so on. In this way, the time adds momentum and more liveliness.
It is best to start these one-on-one conversations with guiding questions to break the ice at the beginning and have a specific intention for the conversation. You can base these leading questions on what the goal of the event is. They can be personal questions, for example, to improve the relationship with each other, or business questions to find new innovations for the company.
Another example is that attendees can choose who they want to connect with and make this connection spontaneously.
2. AI powered matchmaking for targeted connections
Virtual events are designed to deliver a specific message, interact with potential attendees, expand connections, improve engagement, and generate more leads and income. It’s not easy to sift through hundreds or thousands of individuals at an event to find the ideal prospect with whom to continue interacting.
AI matchmaking aids in the discovery of the most appropriate attendees for the user’s interests at the event, allowing them to communicate with them further. It also saves time by identifying the most relevant matches and facilitates networking through virtual gatherings. Attendees can then hold real-time conversations and communicate with appropriate attendees using the chat or video features mentioned above.
Knowing your attendees‘ interests and objectives before the event can be incredibly beneficial to you as an event organizer. And this is exactly what the targeted connections technique does. Prior to the event, you send out a brief survey to each of your attendees. Questions on the form can help you learn more about their background, interests, and why they are attending the event.
You can then use those responses to match them with potential attendees, using AI powered matchmaking, then send them this customized list of 8 to 10 persons. This method is especially useful if your attendees are pressed for time, and you have a long list of attendees.
3. Virtual roundtable
Roundtables are created by separating guests into groups of five or six in different virtual breakout rooms. These gatherings are a great method to get people to communicate, brainstorm, and work with one another. It allows users to meet multiple people at once, minimizing the need to divulge personal information on a one-on-one basis.
A successful roundtable, therefore, needs careful organization in terms of who to group with whom. It also needs an engaging moderator who continues to provide intriguing cues and questions for each virtual table to use to get to know one another better.
The process of incorporating game aspects into non-game situations, such as virtual events, is known as gamification. Games are a great approach to educate and engage attendees, at the same time encouraging them to feel like they’re part of a wider community while also earning prizes and badges.
In virtual event contexts, maintaining engagement is an ongoing problem. It’s much easier to zone out when attendees aren’t physically present. Plus, distractions in our homes and the constant urge to check social media notifications make staying focused and attentive much more difficult.
If you’re going to gamify, make sure you have a plan and a strategy in place. If you want to enhance attendee engagement during sessions, for example, gamification components like in-session polling, and trivia questions could be useful.
In order for your virtual event gamification to be successful, attendees must grasp the rules and awards in order to be motivated to participate. Create curiosity in the build up to the virtual event, explain how it works and how participation will be rewarded. To encourage attendees to participate, make it obvious what they will gain or lose by doing so. (This is a fantastic opportunity to partner with sponsors for prizes if appropriate.)
Make sure your speakers and presenters are engaged as well. Integrate scavenger hunt clues and trivia questions into their presentations, and they’ll be paying attention more than ever before.
Leaderboards should be a part of your event gamification plan. Automated leaderboards, or at least sporadic updates on the top leaders during a live event, can promote competition by letting attendees know where they are in relation to other participants.