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By Becky Brown
November 12, 2020

Attending a Virtual Conference, Like GEWKC? Here's How You Can Network Like a Boss


When you’re participating in a conference online, you can’t exactly meet folks standing in line for coffee. But making those connections is still possible – and important.

No matter what kind of virtual workshop, conference or summit you’re attending, (like Global Entrepreneurship Week – Kansas City) there are ways to expand your network.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Have a plan

It might sound silly, but many people wing it – and regret it.

1. Know what you want to get out of the conference – and who you want to meet. Keep these things in mind when you review the event schedule. (GEWKC has a bunch of networking opportunities to help you

2. Create an agenda so you know what session you want to attend when. You can build your custom agenda at gewkc.org.

3. Set aside the time so you’re completely present. Multitasking has derailed many an online event. Minimize distractions, and you’ll maximize what you take away from the conference.

More great tips below ... 

Be personable

When you’re behind a screen, it’s more important than ever to show your humanity.

1. Upload a professional-looking headshot and brief bio to the conference site. Include URLs and social channels. This way, people can find you. (When you register at gewkc.org and add at least one Prime-Time Event to your custom agenda, you’ll be invited to the Prime-Time PheedLoop platform where you can build your profile.)

2. Publicize your attendance prior to the event. Use the conference’s hashtags (like #GEWKC) – they’ll help other participants connect before, during and after the event.

3. Prepare your elevator speech. Even if there’s no elevator, you still need to be able to describe yourself and/or your venture succinctly.

Participate

Wallflowers don’t become queen of the prom – even online.

1. Ask a question in each session. Make sure it’s on topic and applicable. One thoughtful question can spark all kinds of conversations with potential collaborators and clients after the event.

2. Contribute to the session chat – but not too much. Interact with other attendees and provide value to them while still focusing on the presenter. Remember, chat spam is a thing. Don’t be “That Person.”

3. Find your peeps. Private chat with the folks you click with during the sessions. Ask what they think about what the speaker said.

4. Take advantage of any social activities. A mixer is often one of the best opportunities at an in-person conference, and social activities at an online gathering are no different.

5. Thank the presenter or facilitator of each session. It’s good manners and a nice way to make connections.

Follow up

Attending the event is only half the work of networking.

1. Connect on social media. Reach out to folks you clicked with – and the attendees you’d like to know better. LinkedIn is great for this, and you can reference the event in your invite.

2. Ask questions. People like to be needed – and to help. Reach out to individual speakers and attendees to ask about a specific area of expertise.

3. Talk about the event on social media. Share your takeaways and use the conference hashtags (#GEWKC) so fellow attendees can easily find you and engage with you.

4. Continue the conversation with video chat. If you had a particularly powerful discussion, it doesn’t have to be limited to the conference. Video chat means you can meet one-on-one or gather with your own personal think-tank at any time.

5. Take advantage of session replays. Did you miss a session you wanted to attend? No problem. Most virtual conferences offer replays so you can find the info and the people who can help you on your journey.

Whether you’re meeting people in person or virtually, the rules of networking remain the same. Be helpful and provide value to others. You’ll differentiate yourself and build true connections.

And if you’re looking for a great virtual networking opportunity, register for Global Entrepreneurship Week – Kansas City, where you can virtually network with like-minded business owners to get what you need to start, recover and make your business more resilient for the future.

And we know your business is your everything. That’s why we here at KCSourceLink are always ready to help connect your business to Kansas City’s 240+ nonprofit Resource Partners who can help move your business forward. Just call us at 816-235-6500, tell us what you need here or schedule a virtual meetup with a Network Navigator.

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