With shaking hands no longer an option, knowing how to meet people online is your next best bet.
Virtual events and conferences have exploded in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, and there is no indication that the trend will reverse.[i] There are, after all, a large number of benefits to meeting virtually, and any potential shortcomings either have been or will soon be circumvented by technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality.
While many aspects of these events have seamlessly moved to an online existence, greeting someone with a handshake has not. Nor has getting a drink at the bar, or meeting up for dinner, or running into a new face at the refreshment station.
These opportunities are the hallmark of networking at a conference, and they represent one of the biggest benefits of attending a conference in person … meeting people.
But there are still ways you can connect with people and carry a relationship forward without grabbing someone’s palm. And in this episode of Stay Paid, Luke and Josh talk about six different ways you can network and still make new friends online who could benefit your business by providing help and referrals.
Here’s the no-frills list of suggestions for networking during virtual events:
- Set aside the time to attend and be fully present. You paid for the conference, so you may as well get your money’s worth.
- Set your goals early. Decide how many people you will meet and connect with.
- Check out the event app, and add your name, photo, business, and contact info so others can find you.
- Share your social media handles, and get them from others. Click “follow” while you’re still in the moment.
- Get busy on social media by following the conference hashtags and commenting on posts.
- Participate in the social rooms and virtual hangouts established by the conference planners.
Luke and Josh flesh out the details of how to navigate these online interactions and turn them into lasting relationships where everyone benefits, so dedicate 15 minutes, be sure to listen or watch, and be one (or six) steps ahead of your competition.
- Traditional conferences are not likely to go away, but virtual conferences and events are here to stay.
- Your new business card is virtual. It’s your Instagram handle, your LinkedIn profile, and your Facebook bio.
- Being virtual doesn’t mean you can’t still make a personal connection and nurture relationships. Just keep to the tried and true … make a sincere offer to help others.
The next time you meet someone, pull out your phone and swap your virtual business cards. Exchange social media handles and immediately click “Follow.” That’s another potential lead you’ve just added to your list!
[i] Grand View Research, Virtual Events Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Event Type (Internal, External, Extended), By Service, By Establishment Size, By End Use, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2020 – 2027, July 2020, https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/virtual-events-market.