Maximizing the Impact of Virtual Networking
Virtual networking benefits everyone involved. They’re an effective way to connect with like-minded individuals, cultivate potential leads and clients, and collectively discuss topics important to the industry.
So how can you create an unforgettable event with a BIG IMPACT?
1. Have Clear Goals and Expectations
Hosting a successful virtual networking event requires clear goals and expectations so organizers and attendees know what they hope to gain from it.
With adequate preparation and research conducted beforehand, organizations ensure the conference runs smoothly and provides an enjoyable experience for all involved.
2. Set Up Specific KPIs
Once your goals are in place, they must be measurable so you can decide whether or not they were achieved at the end of the hybrid event.
Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will allow you to track progress against your original objectives.
Do surveys, and record data such as figures for attendance numbers or net profit gained from ticket sales – whatever suits your purpose.
Have a clear plan for how you’ll measure success from start to finish so then, afterward, you can analyze the data and adjust going forward based on what went well and what could be done differently.
3. Choose the Right Theme
Decide on an appropriate theme is based on the type of event you’re hosting, your audience size, your expected interest rate, and potential sponsors or partners.
Once the theme has been established, build an exciting program for your networking sessions, including presentations from experts or industry leaders and interactive activities to grow engagement exponentially.
4. Have Seamless Registration
For future hosts, having a booking and calendar system manages the entire process.
The system not only takes care of the registration and ticketing of attendees but ensures double bookings are avoided since it can easily detect any scheduling conflicts.
What’s more, these systems allow users to not only sell tickets directly from the platform but also customize ticket management by selecting how many free and paid entries are available.
Manage donations, gifts, registration and group purchases.
5. Send Technical Instructions to Attendees Before the Big Day
Event planners should send an instructions packet before the conference to give attendees sufficient time to become familiar with the expected protocol and technical needs.
Additional instructions may involve topics such as turn-taking for speaking, protocols for ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute their ideas and experiences, ethical guidelines regarding appropriate behavior, and basic technical requirements for participating conference.
It is important to provide clear information ahead of time so all attendees understand what they need to do to participate fully.
6. Choose the Right Moderator
When looking for a moderator or emcee, choose someone who can work the room and make the experience enjoyable and successful.
The perfect moderator should be able to facilitate discussion, keep everyone engaged, and keep the order on track.
Select someone with a connection to those in attendance.
Someone with a strong familiarity and understanding of the topic being discussed or who works in sales, marketing, or in the industry that’s being discussed can create an atmosphere filled with knowledgeable conversations and useful collaboration.
7. Choose a Virtual Event Platform that Meets Your Needs
Technology is the key to making them a success. No matter what type of conference you plan, having the right video conferencing platform is the first step.
With so many platforms available, finding one that meets your specific goals and needs is essential.
Whether you need something simple for basic video chatting or something more robust, a video conferencing platform can do the job.
At We & Goliath we provide a team of experts experienced with sophisticated platforms perfect for creating world-class unforgettable hybrid events.
Enjoy worry-free planning with our award-winning team. If you have questions, feel free to contact us.
We would be happy to answer your important questions.
8. Check the Tech
Today there is a greater emphasis on delivering a quality experience through online networking events, such as ensuring the technology works properly, ensuring all participants get adequate time to share their perspectives and views, and creating an engaging atmosphere – which may include icebreakers or question prompts.
However, if there are technical issues, the entire experience is ruined for attendees. How to prevent this? Take the time to test the tech before the first day.
This includes everything from the video and audio quality to the internet, checking for firewalls and lag, and ensuring that online speakers have the gear they need to create a high-quality presentation.
9. Partner with a Seasoned Video Production Team
A high-quality video experience is paramount for many virtual meetings, conferences, presentations, and classes.
And you need the right team to make your conference run smoothly without a hitch. It’s important to have a fast and optimized platform for group work.
Make sure the in-app camera works well with all versions of the computer or laptop software being used.
High-quality video means everyone on the call will be able to see each other clearly and hear everyone with clarity during their conversations – something incredibly important for successful communications today due to increasing remote work initiatives.
Keep in constant contact with your team to troubleshoot issues, help with audience engagement, and keep those difficult transitions running smoothly.
10. Plan Out the Logistics
Organizing requires great attention to detail. You must carefully plan all the elements that make the happening successful.
This includes but is not limited to assigning and coordinating teams, establishing a budget, selecting the best technology and tools for the job, and having support systems in place for any problems.
If you have a hybrid conference, you will have in-person considerations like catering, parking, accessibility, and more.
Working with the right team of experts ensures you keep on schedule and have an impactful event!
11. Create an Action Plan Early
Create an action plan with deadlines so that everything goes as expected.
Before launching, assign each team member clear roles and responsibilities to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
You’ll need someone to manage finances and another to be solely devoted to troubleshooting technical issues.
You may need a video production team, caterer, and communications team.
Most organizers include a crisis management team, as well, and guest services to help with accessibility issues and attendee needs.
Communicating key information like protocols, important contacts, ongoing tasks, etc., among teammates before or on the event day can help keep everyone focused on their objectives and avoid any last-minute surprises or confusion.
12. Always Incorporate a Live Chat
A chatroom offers the opportunity for both public and private messaging.
Allow participants to have one-on-one conversations where necessary while still having the ability to send messages out to everyone at once if needed.
Security should also be considered since people will all be sharing personal information whenever they enter the chatroom.
The support team should alert whatever provider administers it of potential risks and take measures accordingly so that everyone is kept safe while utilizing it.
A seasoned emcee will do a great job keeping audience engagement high with interactive live chat.
13. Good Moderation is Essential
Host introductions, provide clear instructions on how conversations will be initiated, and make sure there’s an efficient method for introducing topics or finding solutions to issues addressed by attendees.
It is worth noting that moderators do not have to be experts on everything related to the discussion—they need to be able to relate with their audiences and lead constructive conversations.
They should also know how to ask follow-up questions to spark deeper participant responses. A good moderator can be essential for its success — so you should carefully consider who can best fill this role before choosing one.
14. Setting Up Guidelines for Guests
Clear guidelines and instructions must be provided before the session to ensure a successful virtual networking event.
These rules help to foster an open forum and an inclusive environment where every attendee can adequately express themselves without feeling uncomfortable or unwelcome.
Guidelines should include expectations for participation, respect for other’s opinions, and time management.
15. Host an Engaging Pre-Event Live Chat
A pre-event live chat is ideal for facilitators to begin engaging participants before everything starts.
Engaging early on with attendees can help boost their participation from the start to the end.
Facilitators can create a virtual environment such as a Slack channel or even utilize social media platforms to host introductions, Q&A sessions, and other activities.
Through this medium, organizers can get to know participants better by learning about their interests and hobbies, allowing them to tailor subsequent activities specifically for attendees’ tastes.
16. Use Icebreakers to Foster Conversation
Virtual networking provides a fantastic opportunity to make real, lasting connections.
They allow attendees to build relationships with potential contacts and industry peers regardless of physical distance.
Through activities designed to foster meaningful conversations and shared experiences, those attending quickly break the ice, helping them establish valuable links for future collaborations.
17. Gamify Virtual Networking
Gamification is a great way to increase engagement in virtual networking setups.
It introduces an element of fun and competition that encourages users to continue participating.
Simple game mechanisms such as point scoring, rewards, and real-time polls incentivize people to remain active and share their knowledge.
Gamification introduces an element of fun and competition that helps users stay connected, motivated, and engaged with each other over long periods.
18. Offer Networking Breaks for Discussion and Socializing
Offering networking breaks between sessions gives people time to contemplate what was discussed and go even more in-depth during subsequent meetings.
Offering these breaks between sessions allows people to reflect on what has been discussed and explore new ideas deeply.
Networking breaks offer a chance to connect, build relationships, and exchange contact information. Create an interactive atmosphere that encourages collaboration.
19. Use Special Features for More Engagement
Make your online conference come alive!
Live streaming special features like live Q&A, chat rooms, and audience engagement tools are essential for creating a successful online networking event.
These features allow presenters to interact with their audience in real time and create an engaging experience for all participants.
With enough thought and research into technology options based on your needs, any online gathering can be successful!
20. Have a Fun Virtual Watch Party
Watch party participants can learn lessons from each other and collectively explore different ideas revealed within the movie.
Furthermore, virtual watch parties allow for more interaction beyond simply watching a movie; it encourages conversation and exploring themes relevant to the session topic.
21. Always Boost Your Brand
There are plenty of ways to make your conference feel much more official by incorporating branding touches.
Encourage attendees to share their experiences via hashtags or start-up branded swag bags holding some information about the company.
These small details would go a long way towards building recognition of your brand.
This great opportunity for enhanced exposure will undoubtedly leave you thrilled with the results.
22. Host a Virtual Escape Room
Escape rooms provide a perfect solution. Everyone works towards a shared goal.
Easily set up a hosted or self-guided escape room on Zoom or other online platforms.
With the wealth of amazing virtual escape room options, find something suitable for your attendees, no matter your budget.
23. Make Your Event Safe and Accessible for Attendees
Many tech-savvy professionals saw the benefits of remote connections during the pandemic, making them an integral part of their network-building strategies.
The primary benefit of virtual networking is that it allows people to easily make valuable contacts without stepping outside their comfort zone -literally or figuratively.
Save endless amounts of time and money that would be wasted on travel and logistics.
24. Encourage Participation with Fun Photo Contests
A pre-event photo contest engages participants before and during your conference.
This easy networking activity can be used for smaller gatherings or the largest of happenings.
Encouraging participants to share and submit photos within a set theme promote camaraderie and sets the stage for positive engagement.
If you’re hosting a business networking event, ask attendees to send iconic photos they’ve taken.
During the sessions, weave in time for a game where participants try to guess which guest is represented in each photograph–this is sure to be a fun way for everyone to get connected even before saying their first hello!
25. Connect Local Attendees to the World
Virtual networking opens up opportunities beyond local contacts.
Users can easily “attend” halfway across the world or engage with global influencers from behind their computer screens.
This ease of connection has been especially helpful in connecting entrepreneurs and freelancers to potential business partners not within easy reach.
26. Spice Things Up with Surprise Guests
Having a guest speaker at your online networking event can be a great way to elevate the overall experience for all attendees.
Speakers bring exciting new perspectives and knowledgeable insights into relevant topics to the specific group of people in attendance.
When selecting keynote speakers, we recommend looking for somebody who has achieved something remarkable in their field – such as a TED talk expert, musician, actor, or athlete – as this will create opportunities to engage participants with inspiring stories and experiences they may not have heard before.
27. Focus on Building a Strong Community
Through breakout sessions, professionals easily grow their professional network and strengthen relationships with existing colleagues.
Building a strong professional community provides mutual support, enabling members to find solutions to common problems and gain insight from experienced experts.
28. Encourage Communal Lunchbreaks
Remote lunch parties bring people together without having to leave the comfort of their homes.
With virtual meal sharing, host a breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It works well for both large and small groups.
If you’re hosting a small group like colleagues, send out meal coupons so everyone can access the same food.
Let the participants state why they’ve chosen to eat Tex-Mex that day or any other cuisine and use this as an opportunity for conversations about different cultures and backgrounds.
Or make the lunch party theme connect to the overall conference. Enjoy camaraderie and delicious food.
29. Schedule a Virtual Pet Party
A pet party is a great virtual networking idea for event attendees to socialize, exchange ideas and build relationships with furry friends.
For this simple activity, request pet owners to join online with their pet companions.
Not only will people be able to interact, but they’ll also be able to get a glimpse into each other’s personal lives.
Add a fun pet social media pet photo contest for more engagement.
30. Provide Opportunities for Specific Skill-Building
Virtual networking help professionals develop their skills and qualifications.
From online courses to specific industry conferences, members benefit from having access to valuable educational opportunities that they would otherwise be unaware of on their own.
By attending virtual workshops, they can connect with other professionals in the same industry, allowing them to learn from each other’s experiences and gain valuable insights into the latest developments.
Speakers can offer one-on-one or group workshops to hone skills and educate.
Networking also helps build relationships, which can lead to opportunities for collaboration or referrals post-event.
31. Keep Job Seekers in Mind
Job seekers seek out virtual meetups to find job opportunities in their field that may not be advertised publicly.
Whether it’s through referencing someone’s profile or participating in a job-specific exchange, networking groups often provide recruitment assistance, purposeful conversations, and industry information.
Business opportunities grow from building relationships with potential mentors.
Give job seekers tools like an app or personal VIP sessions, speed networking opportunities, or even an online job board to help them build those connections.
32. Have Exciting Pop-Up Q&A
If you’re hosting a virtual conference and want your attendees to gain knowledge while having a great time, then a pop-up Q&A panel discussion is a perfect choice.
By calling on industry experts to sit on the panel, participants will gain valuable insight into their respective industries or other related career topics.
33. Offer VIP Expert Sessions
Expert sessions are a great virtual networking idea to connect people from various backgrounds and experience levels online.
Not only do they allow attendees to network, but they also allow them to share their unique expertise and skills with others.
Event participants will appreciate these private meetings that help them get exclusive professional connections.
You also might want to group C-Level attendees for problem-solving and brainstorming with the keynote speaker.
34. Build a Strong Connected Client Base
Many service-based business owners turn to virtual networks to build a solid customer base.
As they engage with other business owners and account managers, they discover new client opportunities while highlighting their business.
Through sessions, they can meet potential customers, make new contacts in the industry, and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.
35. Add Some Gourmet Mixology
How about spicing the day with mixology? Choosing the right instructor to lead the lesson can make all the difference.
Start by requesting the expert to tailor activities that will encourage interaction between attendees, such as an ask me anything session or sending cocktail kits with each participant’s preferred drinks and icebreaker cards.
During the class, participants chat while making cocktails, breaking the monotony of being isolated at home.
Mixology classes offer a great way to encourage online and in-person guests to engage directly!
36. Gather Analytics to Track Ticket Sales and Engagement
Event organizers are always looking for ways to measure success. An analytics tracker is a powerful tool to help them do just that.
An analytics tracker allows event organizers to track key metrics such as ticket sales, total revenue, and attendance in real time.
This helps ensure the conference successfully reaches its goals and provides valuable insight into its performance.
37. Don't Forget About Post-Event
The work isn’t done once the networking event is over – follow-up will help ensure your event was successful.
The most important thing to do afterward is to thank every participant for participating.
Sending a simple thank you email should do the trick, but including some reward or appreciation gift for being involved would be even better.
Additionally, asking your attendees to fill out a post-event survey can help you figure out what worked well and what could improve your next event so that it runs more smoothly.
38. Keep the Community Growing
Post-event use an online hub like an app or website to post video highlights, encourage discussion, and build community.
Use this opportunity to grow your community and keep the engagement growing.
Hosting a smaller follow-up meeting or social networking sessions fosters connections long after your event has ended.
39. Maximize Media to Keep Social Media Buzzing
After the online conference, you will have hours and hours of high-quality video footage.
What to do?
Create a strategic communications plan to keep social media buzzing for months until your next big day.
Post highlights on social media create reels and stories, and tag influencers to grow your online audience.
40. Analyze Your Data So Your Next Event is Event Greater!
Using a sophisticated event platform will give you data regarding registration, attendance, interactions, and more to analyze.
Don’t forget post-event surveys and polling are done, as well.
Pull all this information together to find if you reached your goals, what needs to be improved, and how you can best keep those close professional connections long-term.
Data drives life today. So use it to make your next conference extraordinary!
Host Incredible Virtual Events Guests Get Excited About
Your virtual event planning is quite far from over.
There is a world of strategy, calculation, technology, and storytelling to leverage during and after your event.
Virtual events are like email marketing on steroids: They have become a staple marketing channel.
They are the fabric of brand-building, social movements, and problem-solving.
We’ve produced virtual events, simulive webinars, and conferences with the world’s fastest-growing companies, including GitLab and ClickUp, and impactful nonprofits like the Urban League, NARAL, and UN Agencies.
We & Goliath is an award-winning team of experienced technical producers, designers, and video editors who can help you deal with the tech stress for your special event, so you don’t have to. We offer:
If you know you need a virtual event production partner for an upcoming event, wait no further and contact us here. Thank you for reading this far! We owe you a free strategy session. So let’s chat today!
Thank you for diving into our world. #OnwardWeGo