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Virtual events have become the new norm when it comes to networking.
With people from all over the globe connecting virtually, opportunities for professional growth and development have never been more accessible.
However, hosting a virtual event can be a daunting task if you're not sure where to start.
That's why we've put together our list of the best virtual networking ideas to help you create an unforgettable experience and make meaningful connections in no time.
Let’s dive in!
What are the Benefits of Virtual Events?
Virtual networking events have become increasingly popular in recent years since they offer a number of advantages over traditional in-person events.
Let’s see the key benefits of virtual networking events:
✨ They are more convenient and accessible - There's no need to worry about travel or logistics. All you need is a computer or mobile device and an internet connection.
✨ They are less expensive - Virtual events are also typically more affordable than traditional in-person events since there are no costs associated with a venue rental, food, beverage, or other event-related expenses.
✨ They offer greater flexibility - You are flexible to choose from a wide range of format options.
For example, you can host a live webinar, pre-recorded video presentation, or even a live chat session.
Therefore, you can tailor the event to your audience’s specific needs and goals.
✨They allow global participation - With an online event, anyone from anywhere worldwide can join in and connect with other attendees, making it ideal for businesses that want to reach a wider audience or build their international network.
How to Plan and Implement a Successful Virtual Networking Event?
If you're considering hosting a virtual networking event, you should keep the following things in mind to ensure it will run successfully:
The more people are aware of your event, the better chance you have of achieving your goals.
And speaking of engaging, now it’s the right time to share 10 virtual networking ideas to light up your next event.
10 Virtual Networking Ideas to Engage Your Audience
Quality networking is one of the main reasons why people like attending events, be they in-person or virtual. Therefore, as a host, you need to meet those expectations.
1. Connect People With Similar Interests
Connecting people with similar interests will create more networking opportunities and bring together like-minded people.
Furthermore, they can share their knowledge and experiences, leading to more productive networking opportunities.
Therefore, you learn more about your industry or field and stay up-to-date on the latest trends.
In addition, connecting people with similar interests can lead to potential collaborations or partnerships in the future.
And interests don’t necessarily have to be only business related. On the contrary, they could revolve around hobbies or more personal interests.
2. Smart Badges for Smart Matches
The whole idea is based on smart RFID badges linked to the event app that attendees have installed and filled in their profiles, interests, etc.
Once you’re close to your “match,” the badge lights up.
And although this is harder to pull off at a virtual event, today’s digital solutions, such as Tapni, allow you to give your own twist to it.
ProTip: Did you know you can use QR codes to help attendees mutually connect? For example, they can set the QR code of their digital Tapni profile as the background, enabling other attendees to access all the relevant info immediately.
And the same goes for the host - you can post the QR code from your digital business as the background, and the attendees can simply scan it and find all the relevant info about you.
And the great thing about QR codes is that devices that aren’t NFC-compatible can also access the information.
3. Start a Pre-Event Icebreaker Chat
Starting a pre-event chat is a simple yet powerful networking solution because it enables attendees to get to know each other better and brainstorm together.
As a rule of thumb, you should open the chat some 30-60 minutes before the event starts.
Furthermore, you can prepare some icebreaker questions to get the conversation started.
It will loosen up the attendees, increasing their chances of being more active during the event.
Pre-event chats also offer a great opportunity for attendees to exchange and share their info via digital business cards.
And since we talk about virtual events, you can’t physically exchange cards, but you can set your digital profile’s QR code as the background and share the info.
Thus, not only can you exchange more info than on a traditional business card, but you can access and exchange more memorable info.
4. Enable a Q&A Session to Enhance Networking
Enabling a Q&A session does wonders both for the speaker and attendees.
It enables speakers to tackle issues they might not have had the time to present but also gives them a chance to get feedback.
For attendees, it can provide an additional learning experience and help build a sense of community among attendees as they share their thoughts, opinions, and questions with each other.
Finally, a Q&A session can increase attendee satisfaction because they actually get answers to their questions.
ProTip: Why not make it obligatory to ask questions? The attendees who still don’t want to do it can pass their rights to another attendee. This simple but effective hack will encourage and enhance networking.
Keep Learning: 5 Zoom Networking Event Ideas To Try in 2023
5. Invite a Guest Speaker
Inviting a guest speaker, especially someone relevant in the field, is a great way to promote your event and networking.
You’ll provide a valuable learning experience to the attendees while they can build new business relationships.
And if you incorporate a Q&A session, you’ll spark thought-provoking conversations and networking.
6. Organize Virtual Watch Parties
You can ask the attendees to select the films you could all watch and have a lively discussion afterward.
In addition, you can also ask them to select interesting documentaries, industry-related TED talks, etc.
It will trigger communication and buzzing discussions with plenty of questions and ideas.
7. Try Speed Networking
Allow 5-10 minutes for each attendee to talk to the other person. Not only will it maximize the interaction, but it will also enhance networking.
ProTip: If you have a Tapni digital profile, for example, you can immediately share the link to your profile ( the other person doesn’t need to have the app). This way, you’ll save precious time, and your “partner” can instantly find out more about you.
8. Do the Storytelling for a Better Engagement
Everybody loves a good story. You lead in with a prompt sentence: For example,
“When Sue opened the door, she couldn’t believe her eyes.”
Then, the next attendee adds a line to the story, and so on.
Besides being fun and creative, storytelling can bond attendees and tell a lot about them, making networking easier.
9. Guess Who?
Although it works better for smaller events, this bubbly activity will get the attendees chitchatting and connecting.
Prior to the event, the attendees should come up with a few fun or interesting facts about themselves.
Once the event starts, you can read one fact at a time, and the attendees need to guess who the person is.
This game is a great conversation starter, allowing other attendees to build on the fact and share a similar experience.
10. Incorporate Gamification
You know what they say: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Incorporating gamification as part of your virtual event will add an element of fun.
Furthermore, people are much more relaxed when having fun, and more willing to open up and engage.
There are numerous fun games and activities you can do, from funny ones to creative ones.
Of course, the choice will depend on the type of your audience.
So, what are some of the most popular games?
🍹 Virtual Cocktail Hour: attendees can “share” a drink and chat with each other in a relaxed atmosphere.
You can also provide a recipe in advance or ask the attendees to prepare a traditional drink from their country.
🏹 Virtual Scavenger Hunt: Attendees have to find certain items or complete certain tasks to win a prize.
Virtual Games Night: Host a virtual games night where attendees can play games like trivia, charades, or Pictionary together.
🦸 Virtual Talent Show: Attendees can showcase their skills, whether it's singing, dancing, or telling jokes.
This is a great activity to finish the event when attendees have already got to know each other more. Otherwise, it might be awkward.
📚 Virtual Book Club: Host a virtual book club where attendees can discuss a specific book and share their thoughts and opinions.
✨ Virtual Escape Room: A great way to spark conversation and collaboration since attendees have to solve puzzles and clues to escape a virtual room.
Incorporating games can help attendees connect with each other in a unique and engaging way.
ProTip: This is another reason why digital solutions such as Tapni can be of great help - by segmenting your audience, it will be much quicker and easier to come up with the right activities to trigger engagement.
Furthermore, each attendee can take interesting notes about other attendees: what they drank, sang, which book they read, etc. It will make a powerful reminder and a great starting point for future communications: “ Hey X, I can’t believe you’ve sung my fav song ever! What were the odds.”
Wrapping It Up
Regardless of which virtual networking idea you’ll try, they all have something in common: attendees get to know each other more and get to know the host.
Digital apps such as Tapni help you raise networking activities much higher.
Not only can you create unique digital business cards, but you can also:
- Automate lead generation and send your contacts directly to your CRM.
- Get actionable analytics and measure ROI at events.
- Easily share your info in multiple ways.
- Use attendees’ contacts to connect with them and message them easier in the future
What’s more, you can automatically send a message to all the attendees that have contacted you or visited your profile after the event, which makes following up easy.
Ready to propel your networking?
Join the Tapni family today and leave a lasting impression next time you’re at a virtual networking event.
1. How to Plan a Virtual Networking Event?
In order to plan a virtual networking event, set your objectives, target and segment your audience with the help of solutions like Tapni, choose the right platform, and promote your event.
2. What are The Best virtual networking ideas?
It will depend on the audience and type of event, but you must have engaging activities that will boost networking and participation.
3. Do Digital Business Cards Matter at Virtual Events?
Yes, they can because they’ve revolutionized the way we network.
Not only can you include more info, but you can immediately know much more about your new contact and see much quicker if you are a good match.
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