Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have shifted to virtual networking as an alternative to face-to-face interactions.
Entrepreneurs use the Internet to stay in touch and expand their connections. With it, they can share their knowledge, access more opportunities, and get new perspectives from others virtually.
However, successful networking requires time, effort, and creativity. And if you’re wondering how to build professional connections online through events, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we will show you 10 virtual networking event ideas and ways to do them.
By the end of it, we hope you feel inspired to execute your next online event for your community and professional network.
If you want to spice up your next business meeting, hosting an educational wine tasting activity is a great virtual event idea.
It’s an excellent way to start a conversation and introduce yourself to new people in the industry.
Wine tasting runs approximately two hours in length. Make sure to set a schedule that works for all attendees.
Pack the wine sets, prepare suggested food pairings, and ship them to your recipient list. After this, you can send a video conference invitation to all.
Stony Hill Vineyard lets you experience a private virtual wine and spirit tasting on your preferred platform for your group–from c-level executives to account executives.
With social distancing that restricts social gatherings, immersing yourself in different wine flavors while keeping in touch with your network online is always a safe choice.
Since you don’t usually do an in-person meeting during a pandemic, you can plan a virtual dinner party instead.
Aside from meals being a key element in socialization, eating together is the perfect opportunity to discuss work, interests, and hobbies with your network.
To stir up interest in this gathering, you can send meals to each participant’s door approximately one hour ahead of schedule.
EatNGage is a video conferencing software that lets you share your presentations and interact with attendees as they dine from the convenience of their homes or offices.
A virtual dinner can be a better option than an in-person meetup since there are no logistics to consider–from parking to decorations to location.
Another effective virtual networking idea is to run a Birds of a Feather (BoF) session. The idea behind it is to have a breakout activity based on a shared interest or topic.
It’s an informal or relaxed panel discussion that promotes community growth through networking with like-minded individuals. An insightful event like this can help you grow your organization or evolve as a business owner.
Be sure to invite speakers who can offer expertise on various topics and can facilitate group discussions.
And if you want an intimate gathering, limiting attendance is a must. It increases the comfort level in social situations and makes it easy for attendees to talk.
Gamification is one of the virtual social event ideas that can promote engagement while building your professional network.
Implementing game mechanics in your program encourages meaningful audience participation.
Host small meetings in this virtual event to keep everyone motivated. Assign a moderator who can manage time effectively and can keep the conversation flowing.
Inject fun into your rewards by offering amazing prizes to winners. It adds more excitement to the competition and boosts the energy of attendees.
Feel free to use Spinify if you’re keen to replace the manual process. It comes with the essential gamification features like a challenge, team leaderboard, and rewards that you can customize at your own free will.
You can also give recognition to those who have gained new connections fast or have attended networking sessions numerous times through game elements.
Virtual communication tools like chat can boost attendee engagement–from beginning to end.
Start a group conversation in your event room before your presentation. This initiative lets you build a community that’s focused on the event goals and objectives.
Furthermore, it allows attendees to feel more at ease with the event process and others. They can even make their introductions and start networking before the program.
A chat platform gives a moderator more control over the conversation flow. It provides better access to tools when answering relevant questions and maintaining a balanced conversation.
The rise of audio in virtual events is evident because people are experiencing Zoom fatigue. It’s considered a low-cost way to increase attendee engagement.
Moreover, an audio-only discussion can effectively build networking with shared interests. People can engage in conversations while drinking coffee or walking outside with it.
You can hold a virtual event that will run for three days but with scattered keynotes. Therefore, we recommend having audio rooms accessible to guests.
Take a look at QuarantineChat–an app where you can enter any room and join a conversation. It connects communities, companies, and conferences through calls.
Social media platforms have revolutionized the way we communicate. However, Facebook and Twitter have character limitations that can hinder effective communication.
Thus, utilizing an audio-first application makes sense in fulfilling the need for high-context communication while building connections.
While a business conference offers fantastic opportunities to network, share expertise, and gain insights from industry leaders, it can also turn into a high-pressure environment.
Therefore, incorporating health and well-being activities into your virtual event can lighten it up and increase attendees’ energy levels.
Depending on your event’s format, you can organize a short workout or a meditation break between sessions.
You can opt to have a different date for these mind-body activities that attendees can tune into throughout the event for a change of pace.
You don’t need to leave the house for a fun movie night with businesspeople and entrepreneurs. A virtual watch party can keep you safe during quarantine.
Gather your guests for a virtual movie night and get them involved in the movie selection.
Kast lets users share videos like movies, webcams, and live streams with others in separate locations in real-time.
By inviting participants to join a conference call, you can activate a group chat where everyone can discuss and ask questions while playing the movie.
Galas are another common fundraising idea that works as a virtual networking event.
By hosting one, you can invite your biggest supporters and include everyone in their network to participate and learn more about your organization.
Allow guests to join for remarks from your company and a keynote presentation. It signals them before the event to dress up in the comfort of their homes.
If possible, deliver a bottle of wine and some treats to attendees beforehand. You can also hold activities that you normally would at your live event gala, such as virtual auctions or raffles.
With Facebook Live, you can broadcast real-time video and engage your attendees to your gala night.
A virtual gala event is a great way to ensure that your mission stays visible. With the presence of volunteers that contribute to your cause, you can surely expect it to be a success.
Speed networking allows attendees to meet and make connections within a short amount of time.
With a virtual event platform, you can organize a speed networking event wherein participants will be paired in private rooms to strike up a conversation quickly.
If you’re interested in a full-suite networking platform for business, you should check Glue Up’s Speed Networking solution.
It’s suitable for anyone who wants to virtually connect to people online, network with other event attendees, and engage in a one-on-one chat.
It packs excellent networking features–an event room, a community hub, a direct messaging capability, and a meeting request functionality.
On top of that, it grants you administrator privileges allowing you to define the length of sessions, manage roles and permissions, and moderate content, among others.