How to navigate online networking events

Does the thought of networking horrify you? Then online might be the place to start

Are you considering online networking, but aren’t sure how it works? Online networking can give you the opportunity to meet likeminded people, learn new skills and find fantastic opportunities.

With online networking, you save travel time and transportation costs in comparison to face-to-face networking, so what are the drawbacks?

Well, it’s all too easy to get lost in the background when it comes to online networking, as your face takes up just a small part of a big grid of people…but let us tell you now – it doesn’t have to be this way.

Yes, it’s true that if you don’t get many chances to speak, it can be harder to make connections, and you can therefore be less likely to get those leads and referrals you’re working so hard for. That’s the point of all this networking, right? And you don’t want to waste your time or money going along to online networking groups where you’re unlikely to get anything back – but that’s not the case when you know what you’re doing.

So, how can you make sure that your voice is heard? That you can make yourself known, and get people to remember you for the right reasons?

Well, there’s a knack to it, that’s for sure – and here at the Academy, we can tell you how you can do it, too…


Pick your online networking group carefully

Start off by being picky about which group you go along to – if you want your face to be more visible, a smaller group will work better.

On top of that, check out the group’s format, either before you go along, or on a taster session – do they have breakout sessions where you get a chance to chat to a handful of people in more detail? Do they give everyone a chance to speak for more than 60 seconds? Is there a chance to exchange contact details with the group? These are all questions that are worth asking before you commit to an event, as you don’t want to waste your time in a group that really doesn’t suit your needs and doesn’t facilitate you making connections with new contacts.

Some groups are free to join and some charge a fee, so find out what the case is where you’re thinking of going and see if it suits you. It’s usually quite straightforward to join online networking groups, so there’s no harm in trying a few out if you’re not sure which one you’d like to stick with in the longer term.

Introduce yourself with confidence and warmth

Make yourself known to the group, with a big smile, a confident hello, and a perfectly polished 60-second pitch.

There’s nothing more attractive than confidence in the dating world, and it’s true in the business world, too. On top of that, with a 60-second pitch that accurately says how what you offer can help solve people’s problems, you’ll instantly grab your ideal audience’s attention.

On the flip side, if you say hello quietly, with closed-off body language, you won’t make that grand entrance you’ve been imagining in your head; get those shoulders back, hold your head up high, and show the group that you’re warm, friendly, professional and approachable.

Make the most of breakouts

With online networking groups, you’ll often find that during the meeting, you’ll split off into smaller ‘Zoom rooms’, with a handful of people. This is your chance to get to know those people a bit better and speak about what you do in a little more depth.

Is this an opportunity you can afford to waste? Thought not! So, make the most of it, by preparing what you’re going to say in advance and have a few questions ready to ask others, as it’s a great platform to share ideas and experiences, as well as get feedback.

If you know who’s going to be in the meeting in advance, do a bit of research and check them out on LinkedIn – keep that information to hand, as this will give you some knowledge to save any lulls in conversation, and to show people in your group that you’re interested specifically in what they do.

Make sure you follow up!

By remembering to follow up with the people you meet at online networking groups, connecting with them on LinkedIn and arranging 121s, it will help to solidify the connections you've made and could lead to business opportunities in the future.

Your online networking know-how

So, now you know how to navigate online networking events with confidence, and make sure you don’t get lost in the ether. Introduce yourself clearly, make the most of those breakout groups, speak with a positive tone and conviction, and be sure to send those all-important follow-up messages after your meeting.

It will work – just as it has worked for members of the team, and a tonne of course graduates.

Do you want to learn more tips and tricks so you can make the most of networking events, both online and in person?

Take a look at our other blog articles here at, including this one, which is all about how to start your search for networking groups.

Believe in yourself and get yourself out to those events, as you really can get a lot out of networking!

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