How to set up a networking event in times of confinement

In our time of confinement and social distancing, opportunities to interact and grow business connections have been limited. With events being cancelled on a global scale, event tech is more relevant than ever.

Our industry isn’t only working towards helping the event industry make the switch to virtual events, but also making sure that the connections that we gain from events can continue to prevail.

In this article we will be looking at how to help your networking events transition from in-person gatherings to remote meetings.


Don’t skip on collaborative opportunities

Virtual events aren’t new and the event tech industry has made immense progress in terms of providing digital options for attendees of all types of events. Some events have already made the shift to virtual:

The OCP Global Summit for instance has created an interactive virtual conference, which includes keynotes, an Expo Hall and even workshops. Collaborative activities are often a main component of events, with 73% of conferences and 50% of trade shows integrating workshops in their programs (EventMB, 2019).

Event tech makes it possible for events planners to integrate an array of activities, even when their events are entirely digitalized.


Digital networking platforms: a virtual alternative

Amongst these activities, networking remains a strong contender, especially in times when in-person interactions are harder to come by. Whilst a case can be made about face-to-face meetings and the undeniable benefits these garner, virtual B2B meetings are a safe alternative.

As a matter of fact, they can offer the same opportunities (or almost) as in-person, traditional event networking. Simply put, it isn’t because physical meetings have been put on hold that business leads should be too.

In fact, we already use a virtual networking service to build connections and find leads on a daily basis: LinkedIn now has 500 million members and up to 40% of these users use their services regularly.

These efforts could very well translate to event networking platforms. In fact, the targeted matchmaking services these offer could actually improve lead generation for many companies. The database provided by these networking event platforms are already industry-focused and their matchmaking features help users identify potential clients or partners in a quick glance.


Web-based tools for virtual meetings

With this being said, here are a few tools we offer with a networking platform that facilitates matchmaking at virtual events:

The expert feature

This feature allows attendees to book a timeslot with an expert of the industry and meet them in a virtual meeting room. Paired with other features on the platform, such as traditional meeting services, this would allow users to build their own networking agenda.

Round table discussions

Encourage exchange at your event with roundtable discussions. Users can register for a roundtable with a predetermined topic or can even suggest a topic of discussion on the platform. Virtual conference rooms will be used to host roundtable discussions.

One-on-one meetings and chat services

With their traditional networking feature, users can view the list of attendees and filter it by interest. Once they identified the attendees they wish to meet, users can send them a meeting request and contact them with our internal messaging system.

Integrated conference agenda

Users can build their networking agenda with traditional and expert meetings, as well as round tables. They can also indicate their participation in virtual conferences and keynote presentations offered during the event, by adding these to their personalized agenda on the platform.


Our takeaway: Collaboration is key

Web-base tools have helped elevate networking in traditional conferences and corporate events. In our current context, they will now help people connect and have contact with others, whilst practicing social distancing.

This in of itself will not only improve lead generation, but moreso will help stimulate motivation and resourcefulness amongst people who must work from home.

While the event industry is still navigating this transition, it’s important to keep in mind that collaboration is essential in times like these. By using event technology, we are able to help events innovate and create spaces of discussion and connectivity, especially when human connection is greatly sought after.