If we cannot meet with other people face-to-face, it doesn’t mean we cannot meet at all. Networking is certainly easier when everyone is in the same room. But we'll show you how to organize an online networking event without installing any expensive software.
Imagine a typical speed networking event: a few tables, people switching places, constantly dashing to another seat, meeting new people, exchanging business cards… Sounds pretty “physical”, doesn’t it? How can you transfer all that process to a digital environment?
First obstacle is to get people together, without actually… getting them together. Fortunately there are plenty of apps and programs allowing for group video calls and conferences, which can also be used for online networking. Just pick whatever best suits your needs. Some have very neat functions, such as showing only the person who speaks at that moment. It helps to organize the discussion.
Google Hangouts Meet is a good example of such software. It doesn’t require you to install any apps or programs onto your computer. You simply receive a link from the host and are ready to join the conversation. You can join the meeting in any way – via audio or video transmission from your computer or simply by mobile phone.
Seating smaller groups of people at round tables: how to achieve that online?
OK, so we have a group of people who agreed to join our networking event at the designated time. Let's say there are 50 participants. There can be even more, as they didn't have to travel anywhere, so a traffic jam won’t be an appropriate excuse here.
Having 50 people online at online single virtual meeting would be a real hassle. Matching them one-on-one is also too big of a problem. So instead we recommend creating multiple concurrent meetings. Let's call each of those meetings virtual rooms instead of virtual tables. It just sounds better and makes it easier to imagine.
Moderator for each virtual room
Normally you could say – all right, please introduce yourself, you have one minute to do that. And then the person sitting on your right... But wait a minute – we are not sitting next to each other here!
That's why we strongly recommend to appoint a moderator for each of your virtual rooms. The moderator will keep everybody in check, decide who will take the floor next and watch out for everyone's time limit. Your moderators should be online 15 minutes before your meeting so you can instruct them what is their – fairly simple – role.
Switching virtual rooms to meet more new people
During a regular networking event you can set up 3 or 4 sessions (rotations) to allow everyone to meet as many new connections as possible, preferably with no duplicate meetings.
That is why we have to divide our digital guests into groups of few people each, exactly how we would proceed with a typical speed networking.
After everyone in your virtual room has introduced themselves it's time to switch the tables (sorry, virtual rooms) to meet a completely new group of people.
Just as normally you were able to generate a seating chart / rotation with no duplicate meetings using MixerSeater, you can do the same for your online event. The only difference is that instead of table numbers to follow, you need to give your attendees the links / invitations to their next online meeting, which we call virtual rooms here.
The "seating chart" (or maybe rather the virtual room guide) will be available for your participants on the MixerSeater event page. Also in case of any questions, the moderator can post a chat message stating to which virtual room should his attendees proceed next.
Organize your online event now or ask us to organize the first one for you
Many people seek a semblance of normality and want to keep going with their projects. What’s more, contacts forged in crisis situations can become a really strong relationship when everything returns to normal.
It is time to unite and work together more than ever. So if you want to try online networking, write to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will set up the whole event for you! Once you see how simple it is, you will organize your future events on your own with ease.