One of the most crucial aspects of working in a corporate environment or simply being a professional is connecting with others. Also, now that remote culture has become more prominent than ever, professionals are looking for better ways to maintain smooth and seamless connections and communication between people. One way that has become quite prominent over time is hosting online networking events.
The number of online networking events has significantly increased in recent years, and the reason is pretty obvious.
In this blog, we will talk about online networking events in detail and share with you some tips, tricks, and ideas to host successful online networking events for free.
So, without any ado, let us jump straight into the blog and go through some of the best ideas for hosting impressive and meaningful online networking events.
What are Online Networking Events?
As you might have guessed by the name, online networking events are simply those events that enable attendees to communicate with each other. In other terms, the objective of networking events revolves around networking. Simply, networking events are the events hosted to boost networking and communication between participants.
People attend networking events to connect with new people and expand their personal networks.
Online networking events are simply those networking events that are hosted on online networking event platforms.
The nature of online networking events can either be formal or informal, depending on the objective of the event.
In a casual setting, people generally converse with each other; Whereas, a formal networking event generally features a lecture and has a fixed structure.
What Are the Types of Online Networking Events?
Here are the most popular types of online networking events that you can host based on your requirements.
1. Happy Hour Meet-Ups:
As the name says, Happy hour meet-ups are casual networking events, where professionals connect over some drinks and appetizers. The environment of these kinds of events is very casual and laid back and allows professionals to know each other on a personal level.
2. Industry-Specific Webinars:
The industry-specific webinars are formal and provide professionals to learn about industry-specific topics. These webinars generally have breaks and networking-specific opportunities, which allow participants to network with each other.
3. Online Group Meet-Ups:
These days online groups are becoming extremely popular. These groups are generally social media-based and online forums formed on some particular interest. These groups keep hosting online meet-ups, which one can join to meet new people and boost networking.
4. Online Career Fairs:
Online Career Fairs allow graduates and students to meet people pursuing the same interest. Colleges and Universities organize career fairs for students, which allow them to meet representatives from different industries. These fairs allow students to introduce themselves and know more about popular companies from different industries. Also, since these career fairs have job openings, they provide a great opportunity for the students to start their careers.
5. Online Trade Fairs:
Online Trade Fairs allow organizations and companies to represent their products and services. These events let people and organizational representatives interact with each other. Along with this, these online trade fairs enable people to know more about a particular product and company and interact directly with the company representatives.
6. Online Conferences:
An online conference comprises several elements and factors such as keynote sessions, webinars, and speeches by professionals related to one particular industry. These conferences enable attendees from the same field of interest and expertise to connect.
7. Online Community Service Events:
Through these kinds of groups and events hosted by them, people volunteering for one particular cause get to interact with each other. These kinds of groups and events enable people to meet community members and expand their network.
What Are the Advantages of Online Networking Events Over Offline Networking Events?
The trend of online networking events started during the pandemic. However, even though the clouds of adversities are fading away, professionals still prefer online networking events over offline ones. Here are the main reasons:
1. More Convenient:
There’s no doubt the fact that online networking events are more convenient than offline networking events. Virtual networking events allow attendees to sit at home and make meaningful connections rather than traveling to event venues.
2. Less Costly:
Virtual networking events are less expensive than offline networking events. One doesn’t need to pay for things such as traveling, snacks and other additional costs.
3. Widening Range:
Virtual networking events allow attendees to connect with anyone present in the event. What happens in an offline networking event is we get restricted to the immediate areas. However, in the case of online networking platforms, you can connect with people from across borders and any corner of the world.
4. More Welcoming:
For someone new in an industry, attending an offline networking event can be scary and daunting. The thought of moving across a room and approaching new people gets intimidating for some people. However, in online networking events, one can approach people as per their comfort level.
How Can You Host Virtual Networking Events for Free?
To host an online networking event, here are some steps that you can follow.
1. Set an Objective:
The first thing you need to follow is to set a clear goal and objective for your online networking event. As an organizer, it is necessary for you to answer the why of your virtual networking event. Before moving ahead with the further planning of your online networking event, you should be able to answer questions like what you want to achieve with the event? Why are you selecting one particular event theme? And many more like them.
Also, several organizers host separate networking events, whereas many others include this aspect in their regular online events. So, be clear if you want to host a separate virtual networking event, or merge it with regular online events.
2. Choose the Right Date and Time:
Next, you need to choose the right date and time for your virtual networking event. To host the best online networking event, make sure you pay attention to the date and time you are choosing for the event. There are several factors that one needs to consider while choosing the date and time of the event. Some of them are the target audience group, holidays, time zones, etc.
3. Select the Right Online Networking Event Platform:
The online networking event platform that you would choose for your event will directly affect the success of your virtual networking event. Hence, make sure you take enough time, compare a few options, research, and select the best online networking event platform.
Now that it is a networking event, you would want to ensure that the platform provides its users with enough networking tools and opportunities. You can choose DC Connect, a powerful and advanced 3D online platform that comes with a set of top-class networking tools. You can use this platform to host the best and the most engaging virtual networking events.
4. Promote the Online Networking Event:
Promoting an event is as important as planning and creating it. Hence, when it comes to the promotions of your online networking event, use all the possible ways to ensure that maximum people know about your upcoming virtual networking event.
Also, if it is an in-house event, send invitations to those you want to invite for the virtual networking event.
5. Set the Virtual Networking Event Agenda:
In this step, you need to set an agenda for your upcoming event. Also, as soon as you create the agenda, make sure to share it with all your attendees beforehand. Also, if it is an ‘invitation-based event, send an email to all your attendees, sharing the agenda and giving a brief introduction about all the invitees.
6. During the Event:
During the virtual networking event, it is important to make sure that those who have shown up for the event are enjoying it. To boost networking among the attendees, you can follow a lot of things. Here, we are sharing with you some of the best virtual networking event ideas:
- To make all your attendees feel comfortable, start the virtual networking event two minutes before the scheduled time. It will ensure that as soon as the attendees join it, they are already in the session. Also, for the first five to ten minutes, focus on introductions.
- You can boost networking among your attendees by hosting several kinds of activities such as virtual coffee hours, online scavenger hunts, storytelling sessions, etc. All of them are engaging virtual networking event ideas that will help boost networking among the attendees and allow you to host the best online networking events.
The next thing you need to do is take a follow-up with all your attendees. As soon as your event gets over, make sure to send feedback forms to them, asking about their overall experience. Several virtual networking event platforms allow users to roll out post-event surveys and feedback forms to all the attendees.
What Are Some Tips for Online Networking Events?
Even though virtual, networking events are much more than simply connecting with people and chit-chatting. There is a format that these events follow, and as an attendee, you should be aware of that.
Here, we are sharing some tips you should consider when attending an online networking event. It will help you make the most out of those online networking events.
1. Show Up a Few Minutes Early:
While attending an online networking event, ensure you show up a few minutes before the event starts. It will give you an additional opportunity to get yourself comfortable with the online networking event platform. Also, you can utilize this time to interact with other attendees and organizers as well.
2. Prepare An Introductory Note:
While attending any networking event, you will be required to introduce yourself. Hence, you should always prepare an introduction for yourself. Try to keep it short yet informative, and include your full name, as well as a line or two about yourself in it.
3. Be an Active Participant:
Several times networking will start with a presentation and at times discussions. Hence, you always need to be active and prepared for these kinds of opportunities. Also, make sure you always keep your cameras turned on. It will help you stay more engaged as well as stand out from most of the attendees.
4. Don’t Shy Away From Speaking Up:
Most of the time people shy away from speaking, especially when they are the first ones to do so. However, if you want to make valuable connections, you need to take the initiative sometimes. It will help you interact with people and get your questions answered easily.
If you find it too difficult and have no clue about what to speak, maybe have some icebreaker questions handy.
5. Be an Active Listener:
Many people are good speakers, but not everyone is a good listener. If you want to interact with people and make long-lasting connections, you should practice active listening. It won’t only make other people feel valued, but it will also allow you to learn more about them and keep the conversation going.
6. Know How to End a Conversation:
Know how to end a conversation politely and effectively. While ending a conversation, always thank the other person for their time. Tell them you had a great time talking to them and how they can stay in touch with them, and ask them how they would like to stay in contact.
The importance of networking doesn’t need any spotlight; we all know how important it is to connect with people and expand your network. It becomes more important when you are a working professional. Hosting online networking events is a great way to do so is hosting online networking events. If you are also planning to host a networking event for free, start by looking for the best and free virtual networking event platform. DC Connect is a free online event platform that will help you host your online networking events effectively and easily.