It’s hard to know when conferences and conventions will return. Therefore, many companies have now turned to hosting online events and webinars that are not only occurring on a more frequent basis than their real-life counterparts, but are also largely open to whoever would like to tune in.
While networking at conferences is often the primary motive for many to attend, online webinars can still offer plenty of chances to meet folks in your industry––you just have to take a bit more initiative. Instead of sparking up a conversation with someone you’re seated next to, you can practice that same method of creating connections via virtual channels.
If an online speaker or panel member made an excellent point, email them why you thought so, along with a few follow-up questions that you may have started pondering. If a certain audience member submitted a question that is similar to one you were thinking of, reach out to them to talk about how you’ve been approaching it.
In sum, be keen to follow-up with folks over a shared experience; address something you both witnessed, and move the conversation forward by adding to the dialogue or asking them to connect next week about a similar topic.
Tips for initiating dialogue post-webinar:
1. Reach out to folks where they spend their time. Don’t feel like you always have to engage with someone over email. If you noticed a particular individual is very active on Twitter or LinkedIn, try reaching out there.
2. Don’t assume it’s awkward. Engaging with someone you just spent an hour listening to isn’t strange unless you make it so. Be friendly, concise, and clear with your intentions on reaching out. Use the experience you shared with them to make the outreach more personal.
3. Add to the conversation. If you’re looking to spark up a valuable connection, don’t just reaffirm what a specific individual said. You want to bring something new to the table—be it an opportunity to collaborate, a new perspective on a similar idea, or something else.