Four steps for thriving at your next virtual networking event

October 12, 20235 Minutes

At Chief Wine Officer, we’ve hosted over 500 CWO At Home events since March 2020. If you’re looking to get maximum value for virtual networking, our hard-won knowledge can help you make a big impact even when you’re not in the room.

Joining the call

Begin by setting yourself up wherever you feel most comfortable. Some people prefer the quiet of a private meeting room to the ambient buzz of a family home. But what matters most is a strong internet connection and minimum distractions so that you can focus on the event and your fellow guests. We recommend taking time beforehand to check your microphone, headphones, and positioning – head and shoulders visible with your camera as close as possible to eye level.

Get the lighting right

As much as you may wish to cultivate an air of mystery, nobody wants to network with a silhouette. Cameras will often adjust to dominant light behind you and render your face too dark to see. Try to make sure you don’t have a bright window behind you and consider using an adjustable light source that you can position beside your computer to find your best angle that will really make you shine. Ring lights are a cheap and effective solution to this, although any common desk lamp will also do the trick. In case of emergency, even just turning up the brightness on your computer screen can help to dispel shadows!

Look the part

Background aesthetics, clothing, and ambient noise all play a part in the impression you make on your fellow attendees. Let’s begin with background.

An overly complex or interesting background can draw attention away from you. We suggest opting for a calm and neutral setting – something simple with less detail allows you to be the centre of focus when you’re addressing the group. Perhaps use a plain virtual background, or try to position yourself with minimal décor behind you.

With clothing, we suggest you dress as though you were attending the event in person. Just because you might be at home, doesn’t mean it’s time for PJs. Another thing to consider about your attire is how it compliments your surroundings. A black shirt on a dark backdrop may give you the dreaded floating head syndrome. Likewise, a white shirt against a white wall.

Lastly, from an audio perspective, try to find a reliably quiet area to join the call from. We appreciate that this may not be the easiest, and you can’t predict when or where a car alarm may go off, so remember that the mute button is your friend and where headphones if you can to make sure you can always hear what others say.

Network with intent

We don’t doubt that your ability to spot opportunities and execute lateral thinking is part of the reason you’re so successful. We recommend bringing that same energy to online networking. Making connections you may not have expected to seek out is one of the most valuable ways to capitalise on virtual events. There’s a lot to learn from the many intersections between industries, roles, companies and people and CWO At Home events bring together despite geographical distance.

So use the time beforehand to get to know your speakers and fellow attendees. You may even want to connect with them in advance. We recommend preparing a list of the topics you’d most like to explore so that you’ve got something ready to go in the moment. Breakout rooms are an ideal place to engage speakers and other guests about their specific areas of expertise – this will be where your preparation pays off.

You're all set to succeed on screen

Now you’re ready to thrive online. Follow these tips to avoid the perils of poor lighting, tatty pyjamas, and apathetic sojourns into the virtual event space. Happy networking!

Ready to try

virtual networking?

We host a range of remote, in-person and hybrid networking events.

Browse our calendar