The importance of expanding your professional network and staying connected has never been more important.
Alongside face to face events, which follow State Government restrictions and mandates accordingly, the COVID19 outbreak in WA has seen Wanneroo Business Association (WBA) offer additional networking events, taking place online, via Zoom.
Attending member only online networking events with the WBA allows you to:
If you are wondering how to maximise the networking offered in these online events, you’ve come to the right place! Written by WBA’s General Manager, Lauren Bell, this article will provide you with some tips to consider when logging in to an online networking event.
To find out what to expect from logging in to one of WBA’s Online Networking events, and to read more about how they work, read our ‘What to Expect From WBA’s Online Networking Events‘ blog.
1. Save the Zoom Link
When attending online events, make sure you keep the Zoom link so you have it to log in to the event on time. Copy and paste it into your diary reminder so it will be there when you need it.
We send a reminder the day before the event, but remember that our staff will be busy facilitating the event, so will not be able to answer your phone call or emails if you try to contact them during the event.
2. Consider your appearance and background
Online networking gives others a tiny insight into your office or home set up, so make sure this reflects the impression you want to give off. Familiarise yourself with Zoom settings such as background blurring, the option to upload your own background, or simply use a pull up banner behind you to create some branding.
And it’s not just visual things you should consider! Pre-empt any distractions that could occur, put the dog outside to avoid unwanted barking echoing down your microphone, place your mobile on silent, tell family members or co-workers that you are in a meeting, place a sign on your office door if you need to! Unwanted interuptions can appear unprofessional, but can also be awkward and embarrassing.
3. Introduce yourself
No different to face to face networking events, you should have your elevator pitch and business introduction prepared. Not only will this ease your confidence when you are asked to introduce yourself, but it also means others will gain a clear idea of how your business can help them.
Briefly say your name, business name and explain what you do but try to make it memorable. Speak clearly and remember to smile.
Be mindful of your allocated timeslot and be careful not to hijack the meeting, you will have plenty of time to tell people more.
4. Ask questions
Just like a face to face conversation, make sure you ask questions to find out more about other businesses. How can you help them? How can they help you? Would you be able to cross promote one another?
These are great questions to use to establish a meaningul and useful relationship for all involved.
5. Reach out to other participants
A quick introduction to everyone in the online networking event is given by WBA staff at the start of the event as an ice breaker whilst you wait for others to join.
During this time, have a pen and paper available so you can make note of who you would like to speak to. Who is most relevant to your business or industry, is there an expert you need to chat to about a certain topic, or has someone logged in that you need to catch up with?
You are welcome to use the Chat function, to reach out direct to individuals, instead of speaking over the whole group.
6. Target who you want to network with
After you have made note of the people you wish to network with, you will have the option to choose a breakout room to leave the main larger group and engage in one on one networking.
Use this opportuntity! You are full in control of your own networking journey and it is ok to leave a room if you have already spoken to that person. Be polite and suggest returning to the main dashboard so you can both meet someone new.
7. Ask WBA Staff for help
WBA staff remain in the main event dashboard to assist you with connections or functionality of the platform. If you are looking to chat to someone specific, but aren’t confident in using Zoom, let them know and they can create the opporutnity for you.
8. Be familiar with your mute button!
This is an important and useful function of Zoom, and should be used regularly.
It is courtesy to mute your own microphone whilst other people are talking, espeically in larger groups. Background noise can occur, and you might not be aware that everyone can hear it. This can be disruptive and everyone will know it is coming from you.
Get in the habit of muting yourself, and unmute when you wish to speak.
9. Contact Details
It’s a good idea to have a word document open with your contact details, phone number, email address, website and social media links ready to go. At the end of the online networking session, you will be invited to share your contact details so others can reach out to you.
You will also be able to save the chat so you have everyone elses contact details.
Although WBA staff are always here to connect you with other members, this tip can speed up the process of connection for all involved.
10. Follow-up and stay in touch
If you discussed catching up with with anyone in the event, sharing your availability with them should be your first priority. It shows you are genuinely interested in their business and building the connection further.
Reach out to the new people you met by sending an email, or connecting with them on LinkedIn, as you now have something in common and you can talk about the event experience with them.
As a minimum, consider following everyone you spoke to on social media.
All networking events bring new opportunities, fresh ideas and different perspectives to your business. WBA’s online networking events make it easy for you to connect with other professionals from the comfort of your own office or home.
You just read the different tips to use during your next online networking event, so click here and filter by ‘Online Networking’ to see when our next one is. We hope the information provided will mean you are more than prepared and motivated to join us for our next one!
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