Nothing beats going to a LIVE networking event if you’re a networker. It’s so much fun shaking hands, hugging, kissing babies – but be careful!
There are still risks involved in making personal contact and being in one another’s personal space.
I can tell you this firsthand as I write this in my fifth day of quarantine.
Other than remote meetings being a healthier option (I do know people that still won’t attend a live event), here are 4 benefits to attending a virtual networking event.
You Can Be More Focused at Virtual Networking Events
You can be a bit more selective about the people you want to meet, and schedule follow up meetings with because there is a different cadence to online meetings. There are different social cues, less interruptions, less distractions, and much less time to meet. You may not spend as much time with “small talk” and have a tendency to get right down to business.
You Can Do Your Research “in the moment” Virtually
I know you’re not supposed to multi-task but who doesn’t jump on LinkedIn if you’re meeting people for the first time virtually? You can learn about attendee’s backgrounds and tailor your questions accordingly. You can also connect with them right then and there on LinkedIn and start the follow up process before the follow up process. I have made “in the moment” intros which is a fun thing to do.
With Virtual Networking, You Can Meet People at a Distance
At some virtual networking meetings, you may have attendees from all over the country. (My organization THE Networking Group is a good example of that.) With a click of the mouse, you can be in touch with people from different parts of the country and even globally. What a great way to increase the scope of your business without purchasing a plane ticket.
You Can Meet More People in Less Time Virtually
If there are 50 people that attend a virtual networking event, you can see all of them at once (depending on the size of your screen) and capture their names in a screen shot if you want. If you get the opportunity to introduce yourself, you may connect with almost everyone at the meeting. At a live event, if you meet 5 or 6 people, that might be a lot. It may not be as much fun, but it is easier to “work the room” if you’re looking at everyone right there on your screen.
Of course, these benefits are in addition to saving time and money on travel. I still believe that LIVE networking is fun, and you can potentially make a more meaningful connection, but I’ve made many important connections online (without ever meeting in person) that have resulted in business. In fact, many networkers go to LIVE events simply because they’re fun. And they are!
Whatever your approach might be, it’s important to keep your goals in mind. Remember, it must be the right event for the right reasons.
Of course, the world has accepted virtual meetings as being more convenient, more efficient, and a more cost-effective part of communicating. If you’re smart, you can double and triple your networking efforts by embracing both LIVE and virtual strategies.