Whether attending an event in-person, participating in a hybrid program, or joining a digital event online, having the opportunity to expand your professional network is an important aspect of the overall experience. While professional events are an incredible opportunity to make new contacts and connections, with peers, solution providers, or potential future recruits, getting the most out of the experience requires a level of planning, execution, and follow-through that not all executives realize. Read on for best practices that will help you take your networking to the next level, especially in the digital event format.
Pre-Event Networking: The List
Many organizers will provide attendees with access to the list of registered participants prior to the event start, and in the digital event format, this becomes even more easily accessible through digital platforms which show registrants in real-time. Taking a few moments to reflect on who you might want, or need, to meet prior to the event, and reviewing the list thereafter is a first step in a more considered and thoughtful approach to event networking. Consider specific job titles or organizations as a filter, in addition to reviewing potential suppliers whose products and services may match your needs. Also, make sure that you take advantage of highlighting your own profile, through linking your LinkedIn profile to the event platform, ensuring your details are as you’d like them to appear, and also including your own photo.
Text Chat: Say Hello!
For some, it can be difficult to go straight into one-on-one video networking with peers, especially at the start of an event when things are still warming up and people are getting to know each other. Take the pressure off by considering using the text chat function to connect with peers, saying hello, asking a question, or sharing information over text rather than video. Be the initiator and start conversations with others, using the list you’d assembled previously of individuals that you wanted to meet.
Randomized Video Chat
The digital event platform used by the healthXchange features randomized one-on-one video networking, recreating those serendipitous moments found at in-person meetings where you might meet a new person at a coffee break, in the meeting room, or at a meal. Each video introduction provides you with a brief, three minute opportunity to connect with a like-minded peer over video, creating a face-to-face connection. Having an opportunity to meet with peers using video helps to recreate an in-person experience, breaking down barriers created by time and distance, which so often limit the opportunity to participate in nationwide events.
Targeted Video Conversations
As the event progresses, there may be individuals that you meet during breakout sessions that you would like to continue to converse with, outside of the breakout session format, providing an off-line opportunity to engage on a topic further. Inviting that individual into a one-on-one video chat is the ideal avenue for furthering your understanding of a topic, making a deeper connection, or exploring an issue further.
Multiple-User Video Chat
Another terrific feature of the platform used by the healthXchange is the option to invite additional guests into an existing video conversation. Whether used to catch up as a group with old friends and colleagues, or to invite a subject matter expert into the dialogue to clarify finer points of an issue, this highly engaging feature can really elevate the conversation.
Contact Details & Follow Up
Just as you might have exchanged business cards in the past, digital event platforms provide attendees with an opportunity to share their contact information with each other in the form of a digital card. Make sure that your details and information are up-to-date and share your card as you engage and meet with others throughout the event. The platform will also retain a record of who you have met and shared details with, which can be easily exported after the conclusion of the program so that follow-up emails or calls can be actioned.
While content reigns supreme as the primary driver for event attendance, networking is most often a very close second and can be executed whether in-person, online, or in a hybrid environment. Taking the time to more intentionally network, particularly through the leverage of digital event platforms, will take networking to the next level, making it more engaging and actionable while at the same time offering moments of delight when meeting a new person.