One of the things people miss most about in-person events is the opportunity to network with those they already know, as well as those they are yet to meet. Here are some ways to incorporate networking into your online event…
Group social chats
Including some dedicated time in your programme for random networking where attendees have the option to change group every few minutes is a great way to replace the usual coffee break networking opportunity.
You could have four people meeting for five minutes per chat, or larger groups of nine people meeting for 10 minutes – experiment to find the best combination for your event.
The event hub
Set up an event hub where attendees can send text messages to each other, have a 1:1 audio call or meet for a face-to-face video meeting. Some systems allow additional people to be invited to join the call. Not everyone will want to be available all the time, so remember to point out the do not disturb button.
In-person events that offer structured pre-scheduled appointments have always been successful, but they aren’t limited to live events. This same style of event can be offered online, opening up the opportunity for your attendees to schedule meetings in advance with people from all over the world (time-zone management permitting).
Provide the option for attendees to enter chat rooms to talk with other attendees who have an interest in the same topic or product, or use this approach to reunite departments at a company-wide staff conference.
Whatever the reason, providing the opportunity for attendees to meet in small groups in an unstructured way, will make them feel involved in the event.