South Africa's Online Community for Ambitious Business Owners

Virtual Networking Preparation

Make The Most Of Your Time

How To Prepare For Your First Networking Event

networking preparation

If Covid-19 taught us anything, it’s that technology can make almost everything possible, including networking from the comfort of your home. Networking events offer an excellent opportunity to meet new people whom you can form mutually beneficial relationships. Meeting new people, whether online or offline, can be exciting and nerve-wrenching, especially if it is your first time attending these events. As always, being prepared can go very far in social situations. Here is some advice so that you can maximise your networking efforts at the next virtual event.

1. Identify Your Goals

What is your goal behind attending this networking event? Are you new in town and you just want to meet like-minded people? Or are you like most business professionals looking for sales? Maybe you’re looking for someone to partner with or a specific skill set. Whatever your goal, you have someone in mind who could help you meet it. This is no different in a virtual event.

2. Test Your Tech Tools

Long before the event, make sure you know how to use the tools.  The VALUE CREATOR CONNECT event utilises the Airmeet virtual event and conferencing platform. Smart Business Solutions is the South African channel partner for Airmeet.

You will require an internet connection with sufficient bandwidth quality to connect through video and audio to network effectively. Test the quality of your internet connectivity. If it is week, find a place where you will have better connectivity for the virtual event.
When you log onto the platform at the start of the event, test your audio and video devices before proceeding into the networking lounge. This will ensure your tech tools are working and that you can participate and engage with other event attendees.

3. Brush Up On Your Online Presence

Check out your online presence before you attend the event, as people will look you up if they’re interested in getting to know you better. Make sure your LinkedIn professional profile and profiles on any other social media platforms are up to date. See what comes up when someone Google searches your name.

If there are event profile fields, be sure to provide all the essential information. Your attendee profile should highlight your unique experiences, interests, and skills to attract attention.

If possible, subscribe to any service offered to create a business directory listing for your business on the VALUE CREATOR CONNECT platform.  This will help enhance your profile and also allow attendees to engage with you beyond the event.

4 - Leverage Social Media

One of the tips for successfully networking online is to post on social media before and after attending an event.

Share a post that describes the event you’ll be participating in. Express your interest and enthusiasm by mentioning your expectations as an attendee. It might help you discover other participants, or you might encourage others to register too.

5. Craft A Great Attendee Profile

Every virtual event has an introduction moment. You can spend the first few minutes of the networking event trying to think of what you’re going to write or you can come up with it ahead of time and simply copy and paste it when asked to introduce yourself. The benefit to preparing it ahead of time is that you can perfect you’re messaging so that you say exactly what you want to and don’t succumb to the pressure of trying to think of something on the spot.

It also makes you more present for others who are sharing at the same time. If you were trying to come up with something at that moment your focus most likely will be on your own words when it should be on other people for you to have the most effective networking time.

6. Introduce Yourself

A good self-introduction helps you “break the ice” and create a good impression on others. It’s also a great way to make new people feel more comfortable around you.  Introductions during virtual networking events are necessary because they show your confidence in meeting people.

Most of our VALUE CREATOR CONNECT virtual networking events will begin with an opportunity to connect with other attendees in the networking lounge as we wait for people to join. Many participants will answer the question the host asks but few try to engage with one another during this time.

7. Participate In The Event Discussions

The quickest way to make your presence felt at a virtual networking event is to actively participate in the lined-up activities.  When you give insightful comments, you can begin conversations with other attendees that could offer opportunities for future collaborations or partnerships.

Find time to participate in breakout sessions and share your industry knowledge to show your expertise and establish credibility.  However, don’t overdo your enthusiasm for sharing ideas. It’s best to give at least a few comments or several questions per session.  This way, you give other participants the chance to ask about the topic and discuss their insights in the discussion.

8. Connect People

If someone voices a need during the call and you know someone who can help meet that need or provide a solution, connect those people.  Being helpful is incredibly important right now and will make people think of you when there’s something you can assist with.

If you’re planning on participating in a virtual networking event, it’s important you take it seriously.  While many of us see these virtual events as relationship life rafts right now, serious business connections can be built.  You can have fun, be positive and still grow your business. You just want to keep these things in mind.

9. Get Contact Information

You first need to get attendees’ contact details before you can attain your virtual networking goals and build relationships after an event.  If you are keen to engage with an attendee beyond the networking event, get their contact information from their event profile, or even better, ask the person to share their contact information while in conversation with them in either a table or one-on-one conversation.

Prepare beforehand how you are going to record the contact information that you collect during the event.  The easiest way to do this is to have a book with a table with headings representing the information you want, or even better, capture it in an Excel spreadsheet.

Also be ready to share your own contact information.  The easiest way to do this is to have the information already typed out on a Word document or in notepad.  You can then simply copy and paste the information into a chat with the person who has requested the information.

10. Follow-Up And Stay In Touch

Reach out to the new people you met at a virtual event by sending an email. You can talk about the event experience and how you feel about connecting with them.  One of the best places to keep that relationship alive is LinkedIn, where the other person will be able to learn more details about your background and easily get in touch down the road if an opportunities arises.

If you don’t receive a reply after a week, follow-up politely as they might have missed your email. But if they respond and are willing to make time, show your appreciation by thanking them.  Be vocal about your intention to keep in touch in the future as well. It can mean sending regular updates of what you’re doing, as well as warm emails to support their milestones.

You can also mention that they can reach you anytime if they would need assistance in future projects.  It requires constant nurturing for a professional relationship to be strong. Be intentional and do your part in maintaining your connection in meaningful ways.

11. Be A Regular Attendee Of The Value Creator Ecosystem Virtual Events

Business relationships are built over the course of time through regularly attending an event and being present to engage with other event attendees.  It’s an ideal way to grow your network and strengthen your connections online.  Attending events in person raises your profile and increases the chances that you will be in the right place at the right time.  The more events you attend, the more you will feel comfortable as you will know what to expect and how best to be prepared.

Be yourself, have fun, and get inspired.  You will be find that the more events you attend, the more “friends” you will meet and the better you will feel about yourself.  It is likely that you will feel rewarded because the time you took to get away from your office or computer to make that face to face connection is invaluable.

Scroll to Top

We help business owners, entrepreneurs and SMEs to START, MANAGE, GROW and SCALE a VALUABLE business.