Top 10 Strategies to Succeed at Virtual Networking Events  

Author:
Laurence Tognetti
Published:
November 27, 2023

Introduction   

As its name implies, virtual networking involves communicating through computers and other electronic devices. Virtual networking has become one of the mainstream methods in engagement and fostering connections and will only continue to expand and evolve along with the digital landscape.   

In today’s evolving digital landscape, the importance of virtual networking cannot be understated. It has become the new norm to attend webinars, virtual conferences and events, and hybrid events to build your network and foster those connections to achieve your career goals, whether for yourself or your brand.   

Here, we will discuss the top 10 strategies to succeed at virtual networking events, which will instill the necessary knowledge and insights to help you achieve your career goals, whether for yourself or your brand.  

1: Choose the Right Virtual Networking Platforms   

When searching for the right virtual networking platform, the common instinct might be to go with a brand-name or popular platform. Still, reviewing it for reliability and user-friendly attributes is vital before pursuing it for your virtual networking goals.   

Some factors to consider when choosing a virtual networking platform are whether the features and tools on the platform will suit your needs and whether you are asking the right questions, such as how well you can engage with other attendees or the host. Who can you contact for a problem before or during the virtual networking event? Will the platform’s features help you reach your engagement goals?  

Regarding your platform profile, it’s essential to stand out from the crowd as much as possible. This involves having a professional image, a detailed biography, and links to your work, whether it’s a personal website, a LinkedIn page, or something else that will grab attention.   

2: Define Your Networking Goals   

Like all endeavors, setting clear goals and objectives will establish a foundation, allowing you to tailor your strategy and approach for both the short- and long-term. Specific networking goals include building connections with potential future employers, education goals such as graduate or specialized training school, or meeting new people and learning from them.   

3: Build a Strong Online Presence   

Social media has become entangled in our everyday lives, with posts, tweets, and TikTok videos fighting to fill every waking second throughout our day. While some aspects of social media can be cumbersome and borderline addicting, using it professionally can help you build a solid online presence, which will only contribute to your virtual networking goals.   

One recommended platform is LinkedIn, which has become the go-to site for professional networking. Like most social media platforms, LinkedIn gives you a profile that you can use to provide a professional photo, along with detailed employment and education background, publications, licenses & certificates, projects, volunteering, skills, recommendations, and awards.   

4: Engage in Meaningful Content Sharing   

Sharing relevant content is vital to building and fostering lasting connections when virtual networking. Whether your goal is to gain employment or pursue an education route, sharing relevant content while virtual networking will help contribute to the group, resulting in better engagement and fostering connections.   

Another aspect of content sharing is engaging with others’ content effectively, which involves providing meaningful feedback and asking questions that spark engagement and interaction on the topic. With virtual networking, your goal should be to meet new people and learn new things, which only fosters connectivity and inclusivity.   

5: Attend Virtual Networking Events   

There are many ways to find virtual events and conferences, specifically social media and email. Still, you can also find them through your current employer and even word-of-mouth. When attending a virtual networking event, it’s important to make an excellent first impression, and this can be done through breakout rooms where attendees can break the ice by a myriad of methods. These primarily involve simple introductions but can also include sharing unique information about yourself that helps ignite engagement.  

While virtual networking events are a fantastic way to build connections, conducting follow-up actions after attending events fosters those lasting connections. Suppose you establish a good interaction with someone during the event, and they agree to re-connect afterward. In that case, it’s vital to follow up with this, which will expand your network and foster lasting connections.  

6: Establish and Maintain Relationships   

Building rapport and trust in virtual relationships is just as important, if not more important, than in-person relationships. This is because virtual relationships can get lost in the fray of the digital world, which increases the likelihood of losing touch.   

However, this can be avoided through effective communication and follow-up techniques while drawing the line between pestering someone and following up. Just like in-person relationships, setting boundaries is important, and maintaining a professional decorum will avoid coming across as pestering.  

7: Join Virtual Networking Groups and Communities   

Virtual networking events are just one of the many benefits of participating in online communities, with others benefits including creating real connections, growing your image or brand, and generating leads for employment or education opportunities, to name a few.   

Finding and engaging with the right groups is paramount when searching for the right virtual networking groups and communities. This is because it’s vital to find groups that cater to your goals and objectives while also offering you an opportunity to contribute your insight and experience that will only enhance the group.  

8: Leverage Video and Webinars   

One of the most effective methods in virtual networking is leveraging video and webinars through the power of visual communication, which holds the potential to leave a far more lasting impact than simply through written communication. This is because visual communication puts a face to a name and allows you to harness your verbal communication skills, which give you a more professional appearance and help you achieve your virtual networking goals.  

Along with visual communication, hosting and participating in webinars have become essential techniques in virtual networking. This is because webinars are typically much shorter than virtual events, lasting a few hours at most and focused on a single topic; in contrast, virtual events tend to last several days and offer a myriad of topics to choose from for both attendees and the hosts.   

One of the most important tips for effective video networking is maintaining a professional appearance with your attire and background. This includes dressing as if you’re interviewing for a job and having a background that matches this appearance, such as a bookshelf filled with similar topics or decorum that fits your brand.   

9: Measure and Adapt Your Networking Efforts   

Like all endeavors, we are here to grow and learn, and this can be done with virtual networking through tracking and analyzing your virtual networking metrics so you can make more informed decisions in the future. This includes decisions on what events/conferences to attend/avoid and how to improve your objectives and engagement tactics to achieve your goals. In the end, you are looking for continuous improvement in virtual networking, which will only lead to fostering lasting connections and relationships.  

10: Stay Informed and Evolve   

Virtual events and conferences will continue to evolve, and keeping up with virtual networking trends will not only set you up for success in the future. Still, it will also enable you to modify your goals, objectives, and tactics to improve your engagement and networking skills. This includes knowing about new virtual events/conferences that could provide more valuable information or which events/conferences are on the downslope.   

Sources: BMC, Eventsforce, LinkedIn, Higher Logic, LinkedIn (1)  

Written by Laurence Tognetti

Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran with extensive journalism and science communication experience for various outlets. He specializes in space and astronomy and is the author of “Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey”. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ET_Exists.

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