Networking At Virtual Events
Your Business|August/September 2021
Just because you can't shake hands and pass around business cards, doesn't mean you can't network at a digital event.
Yael Geffen

In one short year, events like conferences have largely moved online. The only aspect that has been missing from the experience is networking, which is one of the primary reasons that people attend. This usually occurs when you stand around the coffee table chatting in between speakers, or do the rounds at an after-conference networking event. However, if done properly, there are many more upsides to virtual meetings and events than being able to wear your pajama pants.

I was recently invited to attend the annual Sotheby’s International Realty conference. Being ‘zoom’ fatigued like most people, I was dreading the occasion. But as it happens, I not only thoroughly enjoyed myself, I felt energised and loved the productivity of the whole occasion.

Hosted as a hybrid event, this year’s virtual format allowed us to host the largest networking event in the 45-year history of our brand and enabled us to bring together nearly 9 500 attendees from 73 countries around the world. And how else would we have been able to secure the highest-paid Academy Award-winning A-list actress as the keynote speaker with her tight schedule?

What it highlighted very clearly for me is that the success of such an event very much depends on the platform used, as some are more advanced and flexible than others, and certain platforms work best with certain types of events.

On the Hopin platform, networking was actually very easy as there were numerous ‘rooms’ with multiple people, and you could move from room to room until you found people with similar interests.

And, like a real-time meeting, once we had met kindred spirits (much like speed dating) we were also able to chat one-on-one in a room with an initial time period of two minutes. If you felt you had more to discuss, you could simply extend the time.

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