How To Host Fun And Engaging Virtual Networking Events In 2022
Whether you are new to sales or a seasoned sales professional, one thing we all look forward to is sales conferences, trade shows, and events. These types of events are often at large halls filled with other sales professionals looking to make their mark network and grow their business by making in-person connections. But fast forward to the global pandemic hitting, and now all events and conferences have gone virtual.
Whether in-person or virtual, we know that prospecting can be tricky. A whopping 40 percent of sales reps say that prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process. Online networking events with Expert share platform sharing their knowledge with the world are an opportunity to learn and improve from the comfort of your own home. At first glance, one would think that because of the landscape change to virtual networking events and conferences, there is no longer the opportunity to connect and network with potential customers since our physical booths where that historically happened are gone. Well, think again.
As conferencing and networking events have moved over to the digital world, attendees have had to adapt quickly and get on board. Now virtual networking events and conferences are mainly focused on the keynote and a series of speakers and breakout or training opportunities. Some virtual networking event platforms let attendees communicate in chats, but that varies by platform.
Virtual networking event platform now have digital booths where people can come and get in touch with you, but manning the booth and making sure you do not miss any opportunity to chat with someone is no longer the go-to plan.
Learning how to build bridges and connect with people across the platform is how you will get the most out of your time with virtual sales events or conferences.
Planning a Networking Event
Virtual networking events demand niche planning and understanding of technology and surrounding experts. With over decades of experience hosting online events, we have observed and learned about our audience’s interests and have put in every effort to transform and elevate our technology to match that level.
Before you can head deep into making a plan for your virtual networking event, you need to identify what you want to accomplish. Do you want to connect industry professionals, or do you hope to generate leads and prospects?
So, here we share some good knowledge bites about online networking events and how to host them. Read-on.
Choosing the Right Platform
Choose an event platform that can support live chat, breakout sessions, virtual networking lobbies, has social media integration, and has an option for virtual networking cocktail hours. A good platform to hold your event is InEvent, a Event Management software that can help you hosting the best virtual event for networking ever.
Market your event by creating email invitations that clearly define why this event is perfect for them. If you are bringing in a guest speaker or planning a bit of fun activity, like a cocktail hour or event gamification, make sure to include that in your marketing campaign.
Send out introductory guest emails! Start with a nice gesture like hello, good morning, etc., add the details, timings, and introductions. Finish the chat with respect.
Identifying the right people and inviting the right numbers. Make plans organized and well-set for your attendees.
As your followers mark attendance for the event, send them an invite with virtual session links attached along. Notify them for download prior to the event for efficiency.
During the Event:
Be Part of the Event
Go to speeches and panels because that is where most of the engagement is happening. Engage in the community chats and take that as an opportunity to pop in and share your solution.
Commit Yourself 100%
at this point, we all had our fair share of Zoom calls, but do not treat a virtual sales event like a Zoom call where you can have your micro-video turned off. Commit yourself to engage with the activities going on in the panels.
Use Video as Much as Possible
Whether in your bio or chatting in community threads, use video whenever you can. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth more characters than a text box can possibly hold.
Communicate with Your Teammates
Since we are no longer doing these events in person, it is harder to know where your teammates are in the virtual networking event. Use video chat or have a side chat going to keep tabs on each other.
Bring in a Popular Guest Star, an Industry Figure, or a Thought Leader
This Person can act as a guest speaker who can make a presentation to the audience on a topic of interest, generating an interesting conversation.
Comfort is Important
Appoint a manager at the start to greet your audience and guide them throughout the virtual networking event. Give every personnel a minimum of two minutes to introduce themselves with a mix of personal and professional information. It offers great confidence and comfort to your attendees who seem worried about their participation and event outcome.
Create separate customized virtual networking meeting rooms. By creating these themed meeting rooms, you can give the audience a bit of control over how they choose to socialize with other people.
Ask Participants to Answer a Special Question:
The host has to start the chat and engage his attendees. The body of the chat must be enticing, simple, and easy to listen to. Here is a small list of the questionnaire you can ask.
- How has the lockdown restriction impacted your routine life?
- Throughout the event, share a time when you have been flexible.
- How comfortable were you to shift to the new normal?
- What unexpected changes have you noticed last month?
Encourage your attendees to find each other on social media like LinkedIn also provide a portion where they can input and exchange contacts.
How much ever good the event is going; we suggest you end the session sharply after 90minutes. Virtual video call meetings can form a dull environment after a while; even if the event is going on a good note, ending the event within the set time is a requirement.
By hosting online networking events, you will be able to build your network and enhance your reputation as a connector. Send a follow-up email to all attendees and thank them for their attendance and ask them to fill out your post-event survey for better understanding.
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