Networking when you are not in the office can be hard, but it may be one of the best ways to grow your business and make sure that you meet new people.
Virtual networking allows this to happen, whether you are in the office or work from anywhere.
Until recently, most of us believed that FaceTime and other virtual calling activities were for casual communication.
However, the global COVID pandemic has forced the world of work to change.
When we were unable to meet face to face, many moved to virtual meetings online.
Now everyone is using Zoom, Teams or other online meeting services, virtual networking has become very popular.
Since the world has begun to open up again, virtual networking events have become more the norm than face-to-face events.
Virtual networking allows you to meet with like-minded individuals all around the world.
In this article, I will explain 10 tips for growing your business through virtual networking.
These will help you optimise the benefits from your virtual time together.
1. Reach Out to Others
Most of the time, a virtual networking event will begin with a chat or icebreaker of some kind while you’re waiting on everyone to join.
Many times, the host will pose a question and the attendees will answer and, in some cases, attendees reach out to engage with each other while waiting.
2. Prepare Your Introduction
Most of the time, even with virtual events, there will be a moment that you will have the opportunity to introduce yourself.
Take some time before the meeting to come up with something that you will say.
You should aim for something which lasts around 30-45 seconds.
Remember to include your location, and a one or two sentence description of your business.
You can go ahead and type it up so you can read it or copy/paste it when the time comes.
This way, you’re not struggling to come up with what to say on the spot.
3. Prepare as if it Were an In-Person Event
If possible, look at the list of attendees who will be attending the event and decide which ones you want to connect with.
If there’s not a list available, decide on the types of people you want to meet and your goals for the event.
While everyone is giving their introduction, write down their names and mark those with whom you want to connect.
Are you looking to market your products/services or are you looking to partner with someone that has a specific skill set?
The difference between an in-person event and a virtual event is that at the virtual event, everyone will be part of the conversation.
4. Gather Contact Information
Since virtual events don’t really allow for one-on-one interactions, you’re not going to solidify your relationship during that event.
So, you need to take the time to gather contact details so you can reconnect after the event.
5. Ask Questions
If you get a chance to interact with other attendees, it’s a good idea to ask questions.
If you can’t think of anything based on the conversation, “Why?” is always a good go-to.
6. Have a Positive Attitude
When you attend a virtual networking event, make sure that you bring a positive attitude with you.
After all, positivity is contagious, others will be drawn to you.
Offer questions that encourage positive responses and/or share some things that you’ve found to be inspiring.
This will make everyone feel better and they’ll thank you for it.
7. Avoid Negativity
While it’s true that we all need to vent once in awhile, there’s no place for things like that in virtual networking events.
If you make negative comments, people will remember you for it.
Even if everyone else attending the event agreed with you, it will be your name that people will remember when it comes back up.
8. Make a Special Offer
Chances are, you may be invited to share any specials your business is offering- be sure to take advantage of this opportunity.
If there is anything that you’ve changed to allow you to better serve your customers, make sure to mention that.
Also, consider making a special offer to the attendees of the networking event.
This will create the feeling of being a VIP and they’re more likely to connect with your business in the future.
9. Write Reviews
When you are done with a virtual networking event, one of the first things you can do before you follow-up with your contacts is to write reviews for their businesses.
Go to their social media pages and post about your interactions with the business, and/or their products/services.
After all, reviews are beneficial for helping businesses get more customers.
They also make the business owner feel good about what they’re doing.
10. Connect Others
If someone brings up a need they have during the event and you know someone that can fulfil that need, make sure that you create that connection.
It’s always a good idea to be helpful and if you help a new contact, they may be able to return the favour in the future.
Through virtual networking, you will be able to take advantage of online platforms, social media, and even online webinars and conferences in order to form connections with others, even when you are not able to meet them in-person.
If you plan to participate in a virtual networking event, it’s important to take it seriously.
Virtual networking can be fun, positive and help you grow your business.
Just make sure that you keep these 10 tips in mind.