76% of participants go to conferences for the sake of networking (according to IAEE research). Conference organizers have come up with and tested a lot of options on how to help participants make useful contacts at events. Many conferences, such as CIO conferences, are moving online, and the challenge is to keep the value of events as networking venues in a new format.
Industry experts name several options for organizing networking at events that are applicable to virtual conferences – chats in online broadcasting services, chats in instant messengers, groups in social networks, and official mobile applications of events.
Which Tool To Use?
When choosing one or another tool, the organizers look at:
For a networking platform, it is important that the majority, and preferably all, of the participants have easy access to it in order to use it conveniently and comfortably.
For effective networking, the most important thing is to quickly find information about potential business partners – who is involved, what they do, and what may be the points of intersection of interests.
At offline conferences, participants can disclose to others only information about themselves that they consider necessary and sufficient. Not everyone likes to discuss business outside of work. It is desirable that the professional community platform helps to find useful contacts without crossing the line between work and personal life.
Useful links should not be lost after the event. It’s great if you manage to create such a networking environment that will benefit the participants after the event and become the basis for the community.
Ways For Networking At Online Events
Now let’s consider what are the ways for online event organizers to organize networking, evaluating them according to the listed parameters.
Built-In Chats For Broadcasting And Webinar Services
The advantage of this option is that it is situational – participants share their thoughts during the broadcast, ask questions to the speaker or ask to delve into a particular topic. Perhaps this is where the positives end. As soon as the broadcast is turned off, all discussion disappears.
Group In Social Networks
The main plus of the groups is that you can immediately find out what each participant does, what he is interested in, even what is happening in his life and what breed of cat he has. Just go to his profile. But here is the main disadvantage – many people share too much personal information on social networks.
Official Mobile Application Of The Conference
The advantage of the application is that it is in itself a closed “interest club”. It is clear that the participants of a specific event have gathered here, and it is around the event that all communication is built.
Unlike all other platforms, the application can be branded in the style of an event, customized to the objectives of a particular event and the characteristics of the audience.
Chat In Messenger (Whatsapp, Viber, Telegram)
Chats in instant messengers are good for discussing pressing issues. They make it easy to share tips or news with like-minded people. Unlike chats in broadcasts, conversations in instant messengers can be long-lived – discussions in them can continue even if the event for which the chat was created was a year ago.
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