How To Host a Networking Event on ZOOM

How To Host a Networking Event on ZOOM

For anyone who is a small biz owner or entrepreneur like myself most of us are trying to find every way to continue to network, and keep the conversation going about ways to promote our business during this time.

ZOOM and other online networking technologies have gotten bigger and bigger since the pandemic, helping businesses, friends, and family connect with one another over video chat.

So for all my business people, here are the steps to hosting an online networking event with Zoom that is sure to be a huge hit!

STEP 1: Decide if you want to host a webinar or a meeting. 

Now, there’s a time and a place for both. Here are the main differences. 

WEBINAR: Most times people do not interact over these but are tuning in to listen to what one specific person or “speaker” has to say. Webinars are ideal for large audiences and events that are open to the public. 

MEETING: Zoom meetings are awesome for hosting interactive sessions like networking events where you’ll want to have lots of audience participation. Zoom even offers a great bonus option: break your session into smaller groups. With the “Breakout Rooms” feature, Zoom allows you to easily assign participants to virtual side sessions and bring them back to the main meeting. 

Hosting a meeting for a networking event is a clear choice because it will allow attendees to mingle amongst the crowd which is exactly what you want! 

STEP 2: Prepare yourself as “The Host.”

Just like with any event you’d be hosting in real life it is best to be over-prepared and have backups for all possible things that could go wrong at the event. Here are three key things to prep & ready yourself for your very first Zoom Network Meeting. 

  • Set proper expectations: Create a clear title and description for the content that will be a part of your virtual networking event. 
  • Start on time: This sets the whole tone for the remainder of the meeting: Think, “on time is late” to ensure you are ready to go earlier rather than scrambling at the last minute. 
  • Dress to impress: Showing up to your professional event with sweats would never be acceptable, so give the virtual event the same professionalism and dress appropriately. 

STEP 3: Engage Your Audience once they are participating in the networking event. 

The main thing people will ALWAYS remember about an event is if they had a good time or not. So make your virtual networking event count, and bring engaging activities to the participants. 

Setting the tone is important right from the get-go and a great way to do that? Welcome attendees as they join & start with an icebreaker question. You can ask attendees to send in their answers in the chat. 

Some questions could be: “Have you ever done a virtual networking event?” “What are you looking forward to hearing/learning about?” Call out some of the answers you hear and share your own response with the audience. 

Another great feature of Zoom to keep audiences engaged is polls.  You can create a few polling questions that can be set up before the event. This is a great opportunity to see what information people are interested in, their level of expertise, and their current understanding or opinions on the content you are sharing. 

STEP 4: Thank everyone for coming & ask for feedback. 

Being polite is always key for any event host, but it is especially important to show appreciation for those who took the time to come to your event by saying a simple thank you for your time. 

Asking for feedback at the end can help members feel involved and wanting to come back for another virtual meeting as well as help you alter and edit anything that needs to be changed for next time to make it even better than the last virtual event! 

Who else has started hosting their own virtual events? I hope this helps bring you and your business closer connected to the world & others.

STEP 5: Bring in some extra help.

If you are worried about not being able to host the event and be the producer behind the scenes you can always call on me, Abby Friedman, to come in and be the producer behind the host. I will make sure your event is seamless behind the scenes from start to finish.