Networking is an art that gives birth to social and professional relationships. When it comes to corporate networking, businesses look for innovative solutions to expand their reach and tap onto global markets. Let’s face it; the world has become a global marketplace. Almost everything now happens online, including sales, dealings, conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, meetings, workshops, hiring and recreation. Similarly, professional relationships are now built at corporate networking events held online. With easy accessibility, people interact with businesses, brands and professionals from around the world. This expands brand exposure and allows others to mutually engage in a beneficial relationship with your business.
After all, networking aims at developing strong connections that later turn into long-term business relationships. So, whether you are a start-up business or an established brand, host corporate networking events to cultivate new contacts and forge professional relationships.
What is Corporate Networking?
Corporate networking refers to building mutually beneficial professional relationships with businesses, industry professionals, partners, and clients. Networking occurs in an interactive space that allows the safe exchange of information, discussions, and closing of business deals. It is a chance for professionals to collaborate, market their brand, present opportunities, welcome new partners, or embark on joint ventures. For instance, businesses today host global conferences for everyone to network and engage with each other. The aim is to minimize distances and easily connect with people in a face-to-face discussion. But how is that remotely possible?
What are Some Strategies for Growing your Network?
The year 2023 demands revised business networking practices. People are more inclined towards building professional connections with others through online means. World’s most successful organizations today are running businesses online. Likewise, they prefer interacting with partners, clients or consumers online. So, following their lead, businesses aim to grow their network by going virtual. Therefore, virtual corporate networking events are being organized worldwide, providing a networking space for professionals to interact with each other.
Here’s a list of networking events being hosted by professionals
- Industry-specific events
- Virtual conferences
- Online trade shows
- Virtual workshops
- Roundtable discussions
- Virtual meetings
Why Opt for Virtual Corporate Networking?
Today, most businesses host virtual networking events to tap into global networking. All they need to do is hop on a virtual events platform and gather a global audience online. Then, anyone can easily sign into the event and indulge in live 1:1 chat or group discussions. In fact, speakers get to address a large number of people in live seminars, presentations, or webinars.
This helps market their brand worldwide to earn new customers, dealers, investors, or clients. It is about time businesses explore new strategies for corporate networking and surpass borders.
However, careful planning and execution is the prerequisite for pulling off a successful corporate networking event.
- Carve out a strong networking agenda
- Reach out to business peers, partners and new connections
- Expand reach and open registrations for a global audience
- Focus on your target market when deciding on an event type
- Schedule meetings, discussions, webinars and more
- Create networking opportunities for everyone onboard
- Ensure environmental sustainability by going virtual
Working Tips for Virtual Corporate Networking Events
If you wish to expand your corporate network and do not know where to start, here are some tips for you to follow.
Build Brand Identity
When hosting virtual networking events, you have every chance to market your brand before the world. Simply put, the virtual platform is a 3D custom-designed environment that allows you to personalize the entire venue for your audience. For instance, you can design the reception, lobby, halls, booths, and webinar rooms with complete company branding. This way, business professionals learn about your brand identity, ideals, and vision. The more people are familiarized with your brand; the more trust is invested in your company.
Once the corporate identity is established, it attracts the right consumers, investors, partners, and clients. It is now up to you how strongly you communicate your brand identity for the people to invest in your products and services. For example, you can welcome people at the reception booths and engage the audience in a short documentary video of your organization. This shall break the ice for the audience who are here to attend conferences, trade shows or industry-specific events.
Set-up Networking Space
Stepping onto the virtual platform, it is time to create an interactive environment for the audience. First, you need to set up a networking space for people accessing the event from their laptops or mobile screens. Basically, you need to create the same networking experience as people have at in-person events. For instance, meet and greet is encouraged for icebreaking. Next, make the virtual space user-friendly for people to easily navigate their way from reception to halls, breakout rooms or webinar halls.
Everyone attending the networking event is looking for a chance to interact with others. It may be through a simple hello, 1:1 chat or group discussion. So, instead of confusing people on how to approach others or participate, make sure you install quick chat buttons. With an embedded live chat option, people can easily comment, share ideas, or build valuable connections. Here’s how you can set up networking space at your corporate networking event.
- Interactive exhibit booths
- Live 1:1 or group chat rooms
- Audio/Video conferencing
- Meeting scheduler
- Live Q&A sessions
- Roundtables and workshops
- Polling and quizzes
Host Live Webinars
Webinars are live presentations that aim at informing or educating the audience. When hosting corporate networking events, make sure you engage the audience in live webinars. These segments involve professionals in productive discussions or chats. This is where people get a chance to learn about your services, ideas, business propositions and more.
Altogether, webinars allow corporations to network in many ways, such as;
- Virtually represent your brand, products and services
- Attendees easily engage in discussions about your business
- like-minded professionals engage in discussions in breakout rooms
- Professionals exchange ideas and accept business propositions
- Companies interact on business terms to collaborate in future
- Business connections are built by sharing contact details
- Live Q/A sessions attend to all the queries and doubts
Fuel Roundtable Discussions
Communications are more productive among like-minded individuals fixating on the same topic. People who feel excited and interested in a topic are engaged in roundtable discussions. Here, you can fuel discussions on hot topics and encourage participation through live 1:1 chat, audio or video conferencing. Without a doubt, small group discussions are the heart of any networking event. Usually, a moderator, speaker, group facilitator and other members formally engage in a dialogue on a given topic.
Roundtable discussions offer easy access to building connections with professionals who take an interest in others’ ideas, proposals, and professional careers. The virtual platform allows you to categorize roundtables as per the discussion topic. So people sharing the same interests guide themselves to discussions specific to their business type. Also, allow easy sharing of data, confidential information and documents for a complete networking experience. Remember that the purpose here is to cultivate social and professional connections. So, refrain from turning networking into a sales event. Although, once you have built a strong network, you can easily engage in business, hiring or sales.
Also, here are 7 ideas for setting up virtual roundtables.
Encourage Social Interactions
Socialization is the key to networking. While planning your corporate networking event, it is ideal for you to integrate social walls. This way, you encourage participation among people who are present at the networking event and others who are participating through social media channels.
A better idea to fuel discussions is by;
- Post snippets from live events
- Use industry-specific hashtags
- Send out tweets about the event
- Share about keynote speakers
- Introduce the panel to the online attendees
- Open comment section for live discussions
- Make posts engaging for active participation
- Allow everyone to make valuable connections
- Make social profiles visible for easy access
- Foster connections among a global audience
Reach out to Your Connections
You will meet a thousand people at the networking event. So it seems hard to keep track of valuable connections earned through the event. For that matter, advice your audience to share business cards with each other. Always remember that if your connection does not seem to be a perfect match for your corporation, someone in their network might interest you. So, no matter who you interact with at the event, make sure you reach out to them as soon as possible. You can simply go, “Hey, Mark! We interacted at the recent networking event. I really appreciated the insights you shared about your new business idea. It would be great to pick up from where we left off!
Mostly, it is advised to reach out to professionals via email; this way, you are not imposing yourself on them and giving them a decent time to get back to you. Although, people who attend the event are already desperately waiting to network with you outside. So, there’s a good chance for everyone to cherish a vast global business connection.
There’s so much more to networking! Virtual networking maximizes your chance to be renowned globally by 100%. You and your valuable connections now share a social and professional network that is growing exponentially. And the benefits earned are innumerable. Hopefully, our above discussion has convinced you enough to start hosting corporate networking events. It is time you hop on a virtual platform and begin planning your next networking event. Virtual Days welcomes business professionals to quit traditional practices of building connections and turn to global online networking.