Finding yourself attending more online networking events? Founder & Managing Director, Bradley Hatchett, explains how you can get the most out of each online networking event and make it an effective use of your time… 

Like face to face networking, there are many things you can do to prepare and make networking online more effective for you. Also, like face to face networking events, our advice to members is very similar. 

We threw ourselves into adapting to hosting online networking events from the outset of lockdown. We’ve learned a lot. Improved significantly. Seen the good and bad when it comes to approaching them. 

I’m here to help you avoid the bad. By reading this you’re already ahead of the game. So, here are my tips on how to get the most out of your online networking: 

Arrive prepared

Much like face-to-face networking events. The value in what you do before and after is arguably more important than actually turning up. 

What can you do to prepare in advance? 

Be on time – if the organiser doesn’t send out a reminder or calendar request, make a reminder yourself. We encourage attendees to arrive 5-10 minutes before our online meetups and encourage you to make this a habit. 

Pen and paper at the ready – unlike at a usual networking event, you can have an online conversation in a group and take notes on interesting or relevant parts where you could help, find out more information and follow up more personally. 

Connect up with other attendees – A good networking event organiser (us) will share a delegate list in advance. We do this the day prior. Research that list. Add people on LinkedIn. Let them know you’re going to be there. You can even use it as a chance to arrange a time to meet on a table in the event. LinkedIn is our recommendation; a Facebook friend request might be a bit strong… 

Become familiar with the software and functionality

We use innovative online networking software Remo. But there are many other software and programmes emerging and being used. 

If the organiser doesn’t (we do) send out a pre-meetup email in advance to help you prepare and ensure you’re set up correctly, take the time yourself to understand how it works. 

This will save you time and the inconvenience of trying to work it out at the start of the event. Your fellow attendees will be very appreciative too. 

Be present

Turn off notifications on phone and laptop. Or even better, put your phone away somewhere. 

Allow yourself to be fully focused throughout the entirety. You may think that you can multitask, but it certainly doesn’t look it. 

Book the time out in your diary like any other networking event or meeting. Avoid distractions and optimise your (and other attendees’) time taken to be an active and engaged part of the call. 

Opportunity to learn

Approach online networking events (and any event) as an opportunity to fine tune your business pitch. Your personal introduction. Make it as clear and concise as possible. 

With glaring eyes on you, you’ll quickly establish who is engaged and who is not. Do this in your preparation, but if it doesn’t go exactly how you wanted, review it, learn from it and improve it for next time. 

Use the networking event to learn about others. Find out something interesting about them and their businesses. When you next meet in person, you’ll be able to refer to these times having built a better understanding and personal relationship with someone. 

Environment & technology set up

Set yourself up in a quiet room or area.

This not only helps avoiding any distractions and remaining present at the event, but is also courteous to other attendees not having to hear background noise.

Position your device in an area with good lighting with your camera at eye level if you can. Rather than having it look up your nose!

We also recommend, where possible, to use headphones with microphone to ensure best quality sound. This avoids an echo and reduces the chance of picking up background noise.

Have these questions up your sleeve

Conversation starters when networking online are more difficult to come by compared to a face-to-face event. 

Have these  thought provoking and conversation stimulating questions up your sleeve. 

Put these tips into action. Join us at an upcoming online meetup or become a part of the Network My Club family.

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