One of the major challenges of online events is the maximizing interactions between participants. How to encourage digital meetings to compensate for the absence of physical meetings?
Networking and business meetings: two different approaches
In both face-to-face and digital environments, there are two approaches to animating audiences and triggering meetings at events: networking and business meetings.
- It’s the encounter between the participants in the broadest sense: visitors, speakers, partners, organizers, etc.
- It’s spontaneous
- The objectives are not only to create interesting professional relationships, but also maintain and develop them.
- It’s the encounter between partner companies and visitors
- It is managed by the organizer by scheduling an appointment.
- The objective is to generate commercial leads
On digital events, participants often prepare less and their visit is shorter
To succeed in digital business meetings and networking it’s important to first understand how and why the behavior of online participants is different.
In face-to-face events, networking and business meetings are prepared before the event. As an organizer, you make sure that your participants and partners are prepared and have most likely visited your website several days before the event. They find the people they want to meet, either informally or via a business meeting, and schedule them in days before.
On the day of the event, the participant follows the program they have set beforehand which reduces the risk of no-shows. Additionally, once on site, they’ll try to make the most of their trip by taking time to meet people of interest, especially during quieter times of the event.
For online events, participants attendance is not prepared in advance and is often shorter, so interactions will be harder. They go to the event at a given moment to soak up the content that interests them and don’t linger around. On average, participant’s appearance is much shorter than during face-to-face events.
To meet this need for immediacy, networking and business meetings must be adapted on your online events.
How to arrange networking at an online event?
The main idea of online networking is to catch participants while they’re there!
How to do this? With a real-time solution that is always open and where participants can immediately go see the other people present at the same time.
Online networking tables, on inwink, allow:
Participants to freely join “rooms”, from a dedicated page, where other participants are already chatting and can exchange using audio and video.
Speakers can open a table that is reserved for them where they will be joined by participants who wish to ask questions after a session. Partners can also host their own branded table to interact with participants.
Tables are created and disappear according to the number of people present in the networking space so that there are always available rooms.
From the networking space, visitors can see who is at which table before deciding to join one or the other.
With this approach to online networking:
- participants can see each other which allows them to have an event experience
- meetings are spontaneous and can take place at the precise moment the participant shows up.
How to orchestrate business meetings on online events to maximise interactions?
Successful online business meetings rely on one key ability: getting participants to the right place at the right time, even if they have already left the event.
For digital events, business meetings take place via videoconference, with appointments made ahead of time.
We’ve seen the difficulty of having participants be easily diverted when it comes to digital events. They soak up the content they are interested in and then leave the event. Once an attendee has left, they usually don’t come back on their own, increasing the chances of no-shows on business meetings.
To counteract this issue, you must be able to go and get the participants even if they’ve already left the event. This means reaching out to them in their work environment for which they left the event for.
Two solutions allow this:
- Systematically send appointment confirmations by email with a CTA allowing to add the meeting to calendar. The calendar appointment must contain a direct link to the meeting page for D day.
- Schedule email reminders 10 minutes before each meeting. This way, the participant who has left the event will receive the notification at their workplace (in addition to receiving a notification on the event itself, if they’re still there).
This is how online business meetings can:
- Allow participants to see and talk to each other
- Have a low no-show rate, thanks to messages adressed to the right place at the right time.
Find out more about interactions for online events here.