The virtual world is becoming more and more an essential part of everyone’s daily lives. In fact, as much as 93% of adult Americans use the internet to help them in different ways. Hence, it is no wonder that many aspects of our lives are being transformed to adapt to the new environment.
Socialization has always been an exclusively face-to-face activity. However, the emergence of easy-to-use online meeting programs has led to the digitalization of this once personal activity. The best example of this shift is the growing popularity of virtual networking events.
Like physical networking events, virtual networking events are meetings organized between individuals who share similar needs, goals, or ideas. The purpose of it is to help people connect with others that can help them achieve their objectives. For entrepreneurs, it is a great way to find potential clients or suppliers.
Virtual Networking Events Versus Physical Networking Events
You may wonder, “Why would anyone wish to connect through online means when physical networking events have always worked?” To answer this question, we must first identify the differences between a virtual networking event and a physical networking event.
Advantages Of Virtual Networking Events
Virtual networking events are relatively new concepts in the business of building connections. Professionals attending virtual networking events might not even be sure what they are supposed to do at these events. Nevertheless, it has some advantages over conducting a physical networking event, such as:
- Lest costly to implement: With virtual networking events, the only venues you need are the virtual rooms provided by online meeting programs. This means that organizers can cut costs related to renting and other expenses such as food and maintenance.
- Requires less planning: As no physical venue is needed, organizers do not need to plan for scenarios that may arise had the meeting been physical in nature. It’s easier for those attending to plan what to wear.
- More accessible to more people: Attending virtual networking events does not require you to travel to a physical venue. This feature means that you can attend any virtual networking around the world as long as you have internet. Virtual networking events require less preparation for attendees.
Disadvantages Of Virtual Networking Events
The fresh concept of virtual networking is also why it is still a long way from being perfect. Here are some issues that you may face with an online networking event:
- Internet reliability can be an issue: One of the most critical requirements for joining any virtual activity is having internet access. Unfortunately, this means that a slow or unreliable internet may prevent you from enjoying or even completely joining your virtual networking.
- Can be harder to communicate: It is normal for any online-based communication to have some delays. This problem is especially true where video calls are necessary. Thus, you may sometimes find yourself reacting late to other people’s messages. It is also sometimes harder to communicate complicated ideas through online calls. Follow up after the event can also be more difficult due to the fact that it’s more difficult to form a quick relationship in this setting.
- Fewer people can participate: Inviting too many people will make communication harder and harder. More participants increase the risk of delays in the transmission of messages and the risk of people accidentally interrupting others. For this reason, virtual networking events are often limited to small groups of people.
Advantages Of Physical Networking Events
Physical networking events have been around for a very long time. Thus, there are many guides that have been polished over time on how to organize one successfully. However, here are some reasons why you may still opt for a physical networking event over a virtual one:
- Communication between participants is easier: Talking face-to-face means there is no delay in the transmission of messages between participants. It is also easier to explain complex ideas to people right in front of you.
- More people can join at a time: The only limit to the number of people who can join a physical networking event is the size of the venue. As long as the organizers are willing, they can accept as many participants as they wish.
- Connections: No risk of people getting disconnected
Disadvantages Of Physical Networking Events
Nevertheless, physical networking events still do come short in some aspects. Here are some reasons why you may choose virtual networking events over physical ones:
- More regulated than virtual networking events: Some localities require organizers to accomplish some requirements for large-group networking events. Furthermore, physical networking events can sometimes be prohibited during certain scenarios, such as during a pandemic.
- More costly for the participants and organizers: A physical networking event requires organizers to secure a venue large enough to accommodate the participants. In some cases, the organizers may also need to provide food and other amenities to the partakers. Attendees will need to bring more to physical networking events as well.
- Harder to organize and implement: With physical networking events, there are more ways for things to go wrong. For example, your chosen venue may be unavailable, or people fail to attend on the date itself.
Each type of networking event has pros and cons. Whichever type you may choose, remember to plan every step of the way. This way, you can make sure that everything will turn out smoothly.