There’s nothing like an in-person conference. Like-minded individuals all coming together to connect with one another and exchange ideas – it’s what events are made for. But what happens when a pandemic hits and we all have to stay socially distant?
Virtual events gained in popularity for obvious reasons this year, but many agree that we were missing the human connection. In this third part of our virtual series, we introduce 6 ways to network with people during a virtual event.
1. Small breakout rooms based on shared interests.
Many platforms offer you the ability to split your meeting into separate sessions. These breakout rooms give attendees a safe space to test ideas and build relationships. Participants feel more confident to share their thoughts before bringing them back to the larger group.
2. Online forum, both during and post-event.
This might sound old school, but online forums are a great way for attendees to hold conversations and connect in a place where interests are shared. Instead of millions of people talking about millions of things, online forums are a smaller, more effective way to make connections and increase engagement.
3. Attendee profiles.
Remember when you used to swap business cards at in-person events? Well, virtual events have a solution for that, too! Attendees can upload their own profiles like a digital business card (name, job title, contact info etc.) to share. As the event host, you can allow attendees to see each other, filter your attendee list into categories, even make recommended connections for like-minded individuals.
4. Social events.
Some of the best aspects of an in-person event happen after-hours. Concerts, happy hours, and other sometimes-extravagant social outings can be what differentiates you from another similar event. Virtual events can have that same effect. Organizations have found ways to make events just as fun, with swag bags sent to attendees, to boot. At your next event, consider:
- Mixology or cooking classes
- Virtual concerts
- Virtual movie nights
- Happy hours
5. Event gamification.
Who doesn’t love games? You may think games are hard to do with other people virtually, but technology has allowed for many in-person gaming events to go virtual. Some ideas include:
- Escape rooms
- Scavenger hunts
- Murder mystery parties
- Trivia games
- Video game challenges
6. Health and wellbeing.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t address the health and well-being of our attendees, especially during a pandemic. By offering these types of activities into your event, you give participants a place to slow down – or speed up – and deliver a different sort of value. Whether it’s a short fitness class to get the blood pumping or a restorative yoga class after a long day of learning, taking care of ourselves comes in many forms.
While we all can’t wait for things to go back to normal, virtual events are finding their stride. By incorporating some of these opportunities into your next virtual event, you can provide value in new and fresh ways. Stansfeld has had great success implementing these ideas for our clients, helping attendees create meaningful connections with one another. Contact us for more information!