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If you are new to virtual networking and are wondering how to build connections, you are not alone!
Since this technology is relatively new and attendees have a different experience as opposed to meeting someone in person, you may at first not know what to expect.
That said, online networking events could give your business vital leads, and open doors for a variety of different opportunities. Plus what could be better than having the chance to meet potential customers, who might be interested in your products and services, all from the comfort of your desk.
In this post, we’ll discuss 5 tips that will help you build meaningful connections and create impact at any virtual networking event:
1. Be proactive
The most important thing to ensure before you join any virtual networking session is to run through a checklist and make sure there will be no technical glitches during the meeting. The network interface that you’ll be using, the data connectivity if you are in transit, or the physical network if you are at home need to be functioning properly. Also, make sure you have a functioning webcam and microphone or headset.
Once you are in the session, begin the chat by introducing yourself promptly. Be bold and start the conversation right away without waiting for the other person to begin the chat. Keep about 3 to 4 introductory sentences ready that you can “copy and paste” at the beginning of each chat. These sentences should talk about your experience and your goals. Additionally, also be prepared with a few open-ended questions that can spark interest and keep the conversation engaged from both ends.
2. Do your research
Although you might feel that a virtual networking showcase may not be as stressful as an in-person round-table meeting, you’ll still want to make a great first impression and show that you’ve done your research. Ensure that you know which employers will be attending the event and what skills they might be looking for. While chatting online, avoid using jargon or chat abbreviations. Putting a clean professional foot forward is more likely to help you get to the next stage.
3. Complete your social media profile
In the current digital age, anyone can find you online. A business associate or corporation could easily look you up from any of the online platforms available, so it’s important to make sure you maintain a professional online presence prior to your virtual meeting. A few ways by which you can keep it optimized is by:
- Using a professional headshot and company logo
- Having a complete profile and portfolio
- Writing a comprehensive, action-oriented summary
- Optimize the headline with keywords relevant to your business
4. Keep your capability statement ready
You might be surprised if a potential corporation is impressed by you and suddenly asks for a virtual copy of your capability statement. It’s advisable to keep your capability statement updated highlighting your key products and services, codes, contact data and more. The better prepared you are, the better your chances of success at the virtual networking event.
5. Follow up after the event
Once the virtual networking event is over, you should try to immediately connect with potential customers. For example, at WBEC-West we invite you to join the WBEC-West WBE2WBE virtual community to build connections with other WBEs and meaningful relationships with procurement professionals. Make sure to fill up your profile completely so that members can learn more about you and your business services. That way they can shortlist you and quickly look you up when an opportunity arises!