More often than not the most popular response to the survey question, “What was your favorite part of the conference?” is networking. There’s no doubt that forming meaningful connections with other professionals in the field can produce worthwhile benefits for conference attendees. But what do you do when you can’t network in person? Are there ways to still cultivate these opportunities in a now-more-than-ever virtual world? I’m here to tell you there’s hope my friend!

Virtual Networking Participation Tips

Circulating the Virtual Room

Although hosting an online conference may not be ideal, technology has made it easy to foster a virtual community hub for attendees to engage in even after the event takes place. Think about:

    Offering conversation forums.

    Center these forums around related conference topics, knowledge-sharing, similar interests, and intriguing themes. Even better to add the capability for attendees to start their own conversation threads. Sit back and watch the spontaneous networking magic happen!

    Making the guest list accessible.

    Allow people an opt-in to make their profile public to promote natural communication with other attendees. You can include contact information, background details, general hobbies, or any other customized fields to get the conversation flowing. The world is your oyster.

    Teaming up with speakers and exhibitors.

    Encourage online meet and greets after speaker presentations so that your attendees get an exclusive opportunity to interface and ask questions, share thoughts, and connect in a way they wouldn’t normally have. It’s also important to carve out online space for exhibitors. Without the limitations of a physical environment, attendees are able to visit each “booth” as often as they like.

    Creating a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

    Put yourself in the attendee’s shoes. What types of things would you want to experience? Set up social activities as it pertains to your event like a virtual cocktail happy hour, wellness exercises, or even a dance party with a live DJ. Capitalize on what makes your organization stand out and be sure to incorporate elements unique to you.

    Motivating through gamification.

     Let’s face it, most people are competitive. What better way to use that to your advantage then promoting interaction through a points system? The more people are chatting it up in the conversation forums, visiting virtual exhibitor booths, or asking for meetings with sponsors, the more points they gain. Giving away prizes based on this scale can be an excellent incentive to inspire connectivity.

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