Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) - QRCA Views Magazine, Fall 2021

In-person events existed as learning opportunities and places to make industry connections, and one of their biggest benefits was as a place to do some networking . . . either as an exhibitor/ sponsor or just by walking around and bumping into people. So, now that events are virtual, is networking gone? Well, no . . . but it’s not as easy or “accidental” as it used to be. But it can be done. Read on . . . I define networking as something where two (or more) people come together to connect, learn a little about each other, and evaluate the opportunity for some sort of mutually-beneficial relationship. So, if you buy into that, where else can that happen besides in-person events? Leveraging Virtual Events First, it can (sort of) be done at virtual events. During those Zoom calls— depending on the number of people on the line—you may have the chance to interact, share your elevator pitch, and decide to take the conversation offline. Two other opportunities give you the chance to network a little: During breakouts. Tools like Zoom allow the organizers to create breakout rooms (much like you’ve experienced at in-person conferences), giving smaller groups the chance to interact and delve into a specific topic. It’s a lot easier in the small group to connect one-to-one than in the “main hall.” At the cocktail “reception.” While they can feel a little forced, most event organizers also build some sort of social activities into their virtual events. Pour yourself a glass of wine and stick around in the evening for these. O ne of the most visible impacts of the pandemic on our business world has been the transition of events—conferences, trade shows, and seminars—from in-person to virtual. While in-person events are starting to make a comeback, virtual events are likely to be a staple of the business landscape for a long time to come. Networking By Steve Henke n President and Chief Strategist n Harpeth Marketing n Franklin, Tennessee n steve@harpethmarketing.com W I T HOU T I N - P E R SON E V EN T S 46 QRCA VIEWS FALL 2021 www.qrca.org n BUSINESS MATTERS n