Three virtual event platforms took to the Confex stage to discuss the challenges of networking in digital environments, as part of The Big Digital Event Debate.
Swapcard’s content director, Mia Masson, EventsAir’s executive director of strategic business, Paul Martin and Event Cadence CEO, Michael Buckley agreed that those digital events, which succeed in providing engaging networking elements, are generally those that offer lots of varying formats to choose from, without forcing attendees down any one particular path.
“There is a big difference between attendee to attendee networking and facilitating sponsor or exhibitor networking so the more format options you can provide, the more opportunities there are for everyone,” Swapcard’s Mason said. “Introverts for example may prefer to network via the chat functionality or participate through polls, while others may feel more comfortable with their cameras on and being beamed live onto the stage to ask questions and engage in debate.”
Event Cadence’s Buckley agreed stating: “I consider myself more introverted and I’m much more comfortable connecting with people based on a shared opinion in the chat window. Most networking at in-person events takes place around the bar but with that social lubricant missing from virtual events, attendees need more options in order to engage with what they feel comfortable with.”
EventsAir’s Martin stressed that platforms exist to help planners with networking options. By encouraging attendees to provide detailed profile information at the point of registration, a growing number of platforms can ‘matchmake’ and suggest both content and other delegates, based on shared interests.
“My delegate badge doesn’t show my buying power or communicate my objectives for attending but I can share this information when registering on the platform and create a more personalise event experience for myself,” Martin told the audience.
Mason agrees. “It’s so much more embarrassing to approach someone in-person only to discover they don’t have the same interests or objectives. By filtering potential leads on Swapcard based on their profile information, you are reducing risk, saving time and adopting a more strategic approach.”