Attending a Virtual Event? VIRTUAL NETWORKING TIPS
Virtual Events can be amazing opportunities, but just waltzing in with no plan in your PJs is a big mistake and a huge waste of time.
If you’re want to get the most bang for your buck (and your time) from a virtual networking event, this is for you.
I’ve attended and been a speaker at dozens of both in-person and online events, and I can tell you, what you get out of it all depends on what you put in, and your plan before you even hit the virtual doors.
Networking events offer an amazing opportunity to meet new people, find lucrative partnerships, and even get more clients, but it’s easy to wrap up the event without making the connections you aimed for.
As more of the business world goes online, you may find yourself attending a virtual networking event at some point. And I want to make sure you get the most out of each and every one of them.
Here’s how you can prepare for your digital event, so you’re ready to make valuable connections, grab some new clients and even build your email list.
Know Your Purpose
Before the day of your virtual event, clarify your purpose for attending. What do you want to gain by meeting people there? What would be the best overcome?
This is going to determine how you present yourself, who you want to meet, and how you’ll follow up with them.
For example, if your goal is to find new clients, you’ll want to prepare how you’ll explain the benefits of your services. You’ll also want to create a potential client profile before you go, so you know which attendees will be a perfect match.
I went to a Jack Canfield Event in D.C. with Sean, and we had this couple that we meant that were really nice and wanted to be our partner for many of the exercises. Unfortunately, it turned out their niceness was not authentic when we mentioned we weren’t from the area. We actually traveled up from Georgia to attend the event. As it turned out, they were there looking for people to fill their local event, and once we didn’t fit their mold, they wanted nothing to do with us and moved on with their hunt.
Finding clients at events is totally fine, but not if you do it like these two. If you need to verify they’re a match for your service (like these two with needing local people), do it casually upfront. I know they probably felt like they wasted their time with us, and we felt used by them. Overall it was icky.
Also, if you’re looking for clients, don’t be overly salesy. People can smell a used car salesman even in the digital world, so be cool like you would in person without being too pushy.
Test Your Tech
Before the virtual event, make sure you’re familiar with how to use the tools the event will use. If your event is over Zoom, arrange a Zoom call with a colleague or a friend to get used to its features.
For example, you will want to know how to mute yourself and unmute yourself as needed. You may also want the ability to show someone your website or a document on your computer, so be sure to know sharing features on the platform. You’ll also need to make sure your internet speed and computer are sufficient as well, so test this out too.
Doing a quick dry run or two with someone will help with tech hiccups and ease your mind so you can focus on the content of the event and networking and not about the tech.
Do Your Homework
Do some research before you attend your virtual event so you can be sure you’ll make the most of it. Try to find out who else will be attending. Research them online on LinkedIn, Facebook, or using a Google search. See what they are saying about the event.
Find out what business they work for and even find a picture, so you’ll recognize them when the event starts.
You should also know a bit about the event itself. Who’s organizing it? What’s their story? If there are speakers, research them, as well.
Get Your Story Straight
Before any event, it’s a good idea to prepare an elevator speech. This is a short story, usually about three sentences that talk about who you are, what you do, and how you serve people. You don’t want to just give people your job title.
Your elevator speech should focus on what you do to benefit others. You’ll use this short story with each person you meet, so you can make a good first impression (without any nerves about what you’re going to say), and they’ll be enticed to learn more.
If the couple at the Jack Canfield event had done this with us, we could have let them know right off that we didn’t live in D.C., and we all could have parted ways sooner and had no icky feelings.
If you want some clear-cut steps on how to craft an amazing, enticing elevator speech that will engage your perfect client match, we have a thorough exercise inside the Smart Arsenal that walks you through all the steps to perfect your elevator speech, so you’re ready to go.
Once you know how you’ll introduce yourself, next, you’ll want to break the ice.
It’s also good to prepare some conversation starters, especially if you haven’t been to many events recently. It will help you break the ice.
After your amazing elevator speech, if you hit it off with a person you’ve met, you’ll want to keep the convo going. Your conversation starters are your jumping-off point. The best conversation starters will be focused on your niche, your or their work, or the event topic.
Prepare your conversation starters that focus on the other person (not on you) and give them the opportunity to talk about themselves.
Brush up Your Online Presence
Before the virtual event, review all your online assests, as people will look you up if they’re interested in knowing more about you. Make sure all of your social media profiles are up to date. Do a quick Google search and see what comes up when someone Google searches your name. This will give you a chance to tidy up anything out of place.
This is also a great time to make sure your email list-building funnel is good to go. Be sure you’re offering something people will be more than willing to exchange their email address for, like a valuable checklist or short ebook.
Any event can be a huge list-building opportunity if you do some preplanning.
If you want a quick and easy way to set up a funnel in no time, try out a done-for-you Smart Funnel. I built out email-building funnels for all industries so that you can customize it yourself in a couple of hours that include the form, landing and thank you pages, and even prewritten email autoresponders, full video training instructions on what to customize, and more. You can find one to match your needs at Smart AF Funnels. If you aren’t sure which one to start with, check out the E-Book/Freebie funnel. It will work for any business!
A Plan to Followup
While you prepare for the virtual event, you should also have a plan for following up with people you’ve met. You should send a quick email after the event ends, reminding them of who you are and making an offer to extend your relationship with them. This is a good time to connect on social media too. Remember, focus on the benefits for them and not just for yourself.
Consider Your Presentation
And finally, before the event begins, take a moment to think about how you want to present yourself. Even though you are meeting virtually, wear appropriate clothes that make you feel good.
Check out your surroundings and what people will be able to see through your camera. Be sure to plan on attending from a room without distractions so you can give your fullest attention. Also, turn off anything that has background noise like fans and have a plan if your dogs bark like crazy or your kiddo runs in nakkie, it happens. 🙂
But above all, have a good time, make some connections and work your plan, so you get the most out of your virtual event.
Want more ways to virtually network online? Check out this episode, on how to not be a weirdo when networking on social media.
Do you want to learn more about building business relationships online? Check out my mini-course, Create Your Elevator Speech inside the Smart Arsenal, which teaches you the process to a killer intro that will have them wanting to know more.
Want to learn more about how to grow your business faster? Sign up for my weekly email and get marketing tips, software suggestions, and lots of cool freebies to help you run your business smarter.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: TORIE MATHIS
Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs get from where they are to where they want to be by working smart. She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your mentor to creating the business+ life you love. She has cracked the code for creating a lucrative, independent business + an amazing lifestyle. She can help you with your marketing and business growth, your clarity and purpose and help you reach your vision of success. 🙂
Torie hosts SMART AF, a show for non-techy, non-marketers looking to grow their business, with her husband Sean and is the creator of SMART AF Magazine.