Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have had to adapt to a virtual environment for working, meeting, and networking. As we have adjusted, we have developed certain skills or tendencies while in this virtual space.
A big component of in-person events is networking! Attending events allows you to build your network, and learn from like-minded individuals. Great news – you can still network at a virtual event, and some people even prefer it! Sometimes having the comfort of being behind your screen is easier to interact with others than being in person.
There are many similarities within networking in person and networking in a virtual environment. Below are some tips on virtual networking and how to make it work for you!
- Do your research. Before the event, have an understanding of the theme of the event, the speakers and their topics. Create questions and notes to keep with you to reference throughout the event to be able to engage on a deeper level with those who you are networking with.
- Fill out your event bio – yes including a photo! Behind a screen, it can be very difficult to feel comfortable interacting with someone you don’t know anything about. Utilize the profile to create a welcoming online presence. Include information such as: your (career/life) title, your industry, and your connection or interest in the event theme. It doesn’t have to be long – short, sweet and relatable.
- Engage in chat groups. Throughout the sessions, often there is a chat ongoing on the side of the screen. Use this tool to engage without having to continue a conversation. This could look like agreeing with a point, or adding a quick relatable point. Doing this builds your comfort level in online interaction, and it also invites others to engage with you. Bonus tip: Don’t overuse the chat – interact when you see fit, but also save some points for networking later!
- Utilize social media. Majority of events have an event page or an event hashtag. Use your pre-existing social profiles to engage on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
- Follow up. When you make a connection with someone at a networking event, don’t wait to follow up with them when you need something. Follow up with them within a week of the event. Whether you added each other on Linkedin or exchanged an email address, send them a message reminding them that it was nice meeting them at ______ event and you look forward to staying in touch. Bonus points if you briefly mention something you discussed at the event!
Doing some (or all!) of these tips should help you make the most out of your networking experience. Also to note – if you choose not to network at all, you have that choice! Networking isn’t for everyone, and you should still attend an event that you are interested in without the feeling of obligation to network. Any events that you want to attend, make them work for you, your goals, and your comfort level!
Did I miss one of your favourite tips? Let us know in the comments or on social media how YOU network virtually. Use our hashtag #NLSW2021