Request Demo

Virtual Event Networking and Engagement Tips

Laurence Tognetti
March 18, 2024

I. Introduction

We've previously covered the rise of virtual events over the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced people to stay home and away from attending in-person conferences and events. This shift in how people attend events has made virtual events more mainstream, allowing individuals worldwide to engage and connect without the cumbersome logistical headaches of travel and cost.   

How people attend events has changed, requiring a similar shift in how they network within this newer event format, which is more complex than it seems.  

Virtual events enable new levels of virtual networking and can increase accessibility, diversity, inclusivity, and connectivity for individuals from all personal and professional backgrounds. Here, we will discuss tips for successful virtual event networking, which will help companies and attendees expand their networking reach while embracing virtual events as the mainstream method of building connections and fostering lasting relationships.  

Virtual Networking 1

II. Understanding Virtual Events

Virtual events are online events that allow individuals worldwide to engage, connect, and network in an online environment to achieve personal or professional goals. Examples of virtual events include conferences, trade shows, educational showcases, and so much more.   

Some advantages of virtual events over in-person gatherings include drastically reducing the cost of travel, lodging, and food expenses, resulting in environmental savings due to the reduced carbon footprint. The cost-savings aspect also impacts event planners since they can use the additional funds to invite expert speakers and panelists and improve the entertainment aspect of the virtual event. Additionally, virtual events offer increased accessibility, time flexibility, and interactivity that in-person events might not be able to provide for everyone.   

While virtual events offer many advantages, some challenges include time zones, poor internet connections, security lapses, and inadequate attendee engagement. Like all endeavors, virtual events are constantly evolving to meet the needs of both event planners and attendees, so feedback is essential for improving the quality of virtual events for everyone.  

Teambuilding 1

III. Leveraging Digital Connections

Virtual events have become essential for achieving networking goals, so online engagement in virtual events cannot be understated. With virtual events, individuals worldwide can engage and connect by breaking down geographic barriers, resulting in increased diversity, inclusivity, and connectivity for everyone.   

Utilizing digital platforms for networking helps enhance virtual event experiences, which can be accomplished via email, social media, and virtual event apps. Additionally, companies continue improving and enhancing their virtual event platforms by providing interactive features, including gamification, Q&A sessions, breakout rooms, and much more.   

This will allow event planners and attendees to continue building meaningful connections in a virtual environment through enhanced engagement tools and resources. Providing necessary feedback will also continue to improve virtual events for everyone.  

Chati Networking Lounge

IV. Virtual Networking Strategies

Attending virtual events requires sufficient planning and preparation, beginning with setting objectives and goals for networking. Are your networking goals personal or professional? Short-term or long-term? Do you want to engage with attendees or speakers, as well? Understanding your objectives beforehand will enable you to attend virtual events with a focused mindset and avoid distractions when they occur.  

Researching attendees and speakers will allow you to come prepared with necessary questions and goals as part of your preparation. Are the attendees from your professional background? What could their goals and objectives be? Are the speakers familiar with your background? What do you hope to acquire through their talks?  

A final preparatory step includes optimizing your online presence and ensuring your social media accounts contain updated information. Most notably, LinkedIn has become one of the most popular virtual networking tools for building connections and achieving networking goals.  

Participating actively in sessions and discussions is the most important aspect of attending virtual events, as this allows people to get to know you personally and professionally. However, it's also essential to strike a balance between active and passive engagement, as you want to allow other attendees to engage, as well. Sharing the virtual floor with other attendees will demonstrate humility and selflessness that will likely help you more than being constantly active.  

Profile 1

During your virtual event, utilizing chat features and virtual breakout rooms will allow you to engage with attendees, speakers, and event organizers one-on-one and ask questions that you might have come up with during the event. The virtual breakout rooms are specifically designed for this, and they will allow you to improve your engagement skills while gaining and sharing knowledge with individuals from all over the world.  

To go with active participation, initiating conversations with fellow participants will help break the ice since nearly all attendees will be nervous upon first attending the event. Additionally, this will demonstrate your ability to take charge and seize the moment, which will get the attention of attendees, speakers, and event organizers.  

While engaging during the event is vital for achieving your networking goals, following up with contacts made will enable you to foster those connections and relationships for the long term. Continuing social media and email engagement within a few days after the event will allow you to leverage connections for future opportunities.   


V. Tips for Successful Online Engagement

The most vital tip for successful online engagement is being authentic and approachable in virtual interactions, which will establish a solid first impression for other attendees, speakers, and event organizers.   

Virtual events continue to evolve to enhance experiences for everyone, and utilizing multimedia content to enhance engagement is vital to achieving your networking goals. This includes the chat above features and breakout rooms but can also include Q&A sessions and gamification sessions.   

Finally, staying proactive and consistent in networking efforts is vital to achieving long-term goals, whether personal or professional. If you make connections at a virtual event, stay with them as long as possible while also making strides in building more connections. Proactivity and consistency are keys to success in work and life, and virtual events can help you enhance these traits for both the short and long term.  

VI. Conclusion

Here, we discussed critical tips for virtual networking, which involve proper preparation, successfully optimizing your online presence, and actively participating in discussions with all parties throughout the virtual event. Also, following up with contacts made during the virtual event will help you achieve your networking goals and foster connections and relationships for the long term. Emphasizing the importance of adapting to virtual networking strategies is also vital for long-term networking success. 

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.

© 2023-2024 Chati LLC. All rights reserved.