One unique challenge of holding virtual events is the lack of in-person pre-event networking. For event attendees, a major draw of trade shows, business conferences, and other such events is the ability to network and speak with other professionals in their fields. At a virtual event, there is less of an opportunity for face-to-face interaction, so it can be difficult for attendees to know who they’d like to connect with before and after the event.
By following a few basic tips and strategies, you can overcome this hurdle, encourage pre-event networking among virtual event attendees, and help them connect even when there’s no opportunity for in-person interactions. Let's dive in.
Create A Pre-Event Online Community For Your Event
We highly recommend creating a Facebook group or a similar online community for event attendees. This is a great “home” where you can post information about the event, pre-event networking activities, and other such information. You can also email or send this information to attendees directly.
Using this community group, you can set up a few different pre-event activities that are sure to be a hit with event attendees. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Virtual Coffee Room
This is exactly what it sounds like! Attendees can join a virtual “coffee room” at any time to speak with one another and connect. This is a low-pressure, fun environment where attendees can make connections just like they would at a physical event.
2. Human Bingo
Human bingo is a classic icebreaker. You can find a pre-printed set of bingo cards to use here, or you can make your own. In this game, attendees must talk to other attendees to learn fun or interesting facts about them. For example, the bingo card could include things like:
- Hates pizza
- Has never been on an airplane
- Has been to more than 3 continents
And so on. The first person to fill out 5 spaces in a row calls bingo and wins! This is a great way to start conversations among event attendees.
3. Two Truths And A Lie
This game is simple. Each person takes a turn telling two truths and one lie about themselves. For example, an attendee could say:
- I went to college in Hawaii
- I played varsity softball in high school
- My mother was a fashion model
The other participants have to guess the two truths – and the lie! This is such a fun icebreaker, and helps people open up about themselves.
4. Team Competitions
You can break attendees into two teams, and have them play games and activities against each other. This is a great way to build up team spirit between attendees, and have them talk and get to know each other in a fun, laid-back environment.
5. Event Technology Usage Demos
Your virtual event technology may provide powerful networking tools like BOF networking rooms and peer-to-peer video conferencing. But if your attendees don't know about them, it won't do them much good. A pre-recorded "get to know the technology tutorial" video or a live demo can help attendees who are not super familiar with the technology used for the event. They can ask any questions they have, get a demo, and ensure they know how to use your event software and other technology that may be needed during the event itself.
Virtual Pre-Event Networking Helps You Build More Successful Events
Remember, in addition to loving your content, you want your attendees to "talk-up" your virtual event as an awesome networking experience. But if you skip virtual pre-event networking, event attendees may miss opportunities to make the valuable connections that they would make at a physical event.
So be sure to make this a priority when planning virtual events. If you do, your attendees are sure to be delighted by their event experience, and they’ll be more likely to spread the word and share information about your company and your event.
Implement these strategies from MeetingPlay today – and enhance your virtual event with pre-event networking.