We’ve previously written about the Best Trade Show Alternatives When You Can’t Get There. Times are tough and are forcing us all to look for new ways to do old tricks. One such trick is the industry happy hour. They were great ways to chat with old friends, make new connections, and just have a good time. But with the COVID crisis, that has all changed. We will show you the new way to happy hour below.
What is a Virtual Happy Hour?
It is just what it sounds like. The host begins by choosing a platform, such as Zoom, GoTo, etc. They create a time, send out invites, and develop an agenda for the meeting. Participants gather together with their own libations and snacks. They may then be asked to give a quick introduction and the conversation will flow. Special speakers may be invited, but all are encouraged to participate. You may also be free to ask the speaker questions via the chat option.
Here are a few tips for making connections during a virtual happy hour:
- Use the video feature. More people are likely to remember you if they see your actual face, not your profile picture or a blank screen with your name on it.
- Participate in any extra activities the host has to offer to share your insight and knowledge.
- Dress to impress. You don’t need a suit and tie (unless prompted to) but don’t show up looking like you just rolled out of bed.
- Behave professionally. It may be a happy hour, but it is still a professional happy hour.
- Have virtual business card in several formats ready to pass out and share helpful links in the chat that is related to the topic being discussed.
- If possible, know who is going to attend in advance to prepare for any items of importance you have to bring up to them.
- Use the chat option to communicate directly with your preferred contacts without interrupting the main flow of the happy hour.
- If the host offers to keep the meeting going past the allotted time, offer to remain behind and make new connections.
Other Ways People are Networking
Not up for a virtual happy hour? There are other alternatives.
- The new sales pitch – Are you a great phone salesman? Now is a great time to step up your pitches by adding video to it. Clients are more open to attending video chats and can be more receptive to any digital media you have to show.
- Virtual presentation – The same goes for any in person presentations you had in mind. Did you prepare something for a tradeshow that was cancelled? Contact the attendees of the tradeshow to see if they would like a virtual one. Be sure to practice with a trusted colleague before “going live.”
- Check in – Let your current clientele that you have not disappeared and are there for them. Ask them how their latest purchase is working out and see if they currently need anything.
- Utilize social media – There are so many ways we can connect on social media. Find the one that works for you. Now is an excellent time to try something new as well!
- Find meetings – While you’re on social media, check around to see if anyone else is doing an open meeting that you may attend to build connections. There are many virtual tradeshows happening in our industry. Be sure to connect with us at AWWA Virtual Summit, WEFTEC Connect, FSA, SMRP, and TPS!
- Make time to appreciate what you have – You may have not seen your team in person in a while. Even if you schedule regular meetings, be sure to include some more relaxed fare as well. A few ideas include video chats for holidays, business anniversaries, and other special occasions.
Feel free to sign up for the Empowering Brands Virtual Happy Hour coming up this Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 4:00 pm CST via Zoom. We will be sharing our ideas, as well as tips and tricks for remaining successful even under adverse circumstances. Click here to sign up.