Virtual Event Networking Conversation Ideas

As the rise of the virtual and hybrid event solutions are becoming more common in many different industries, meaningful conversations are more important than ever.

When events took place fully in-person, it was easier to see people face-to-face and strike up a conversation about anything. When it comes to virtual events, hosts have to come up with networking conversation ideas for attendees that don’t lead to the dreaded Zoom silence.

Virtual event networking is becoming more and more essential as more businesses are going virtual. Let’s take a look at conversation starters that can help bring life and enjoyment to video conferencing for your attendees in a virtual environment.

 

1. Virtual Dinner Parties

In-person events often have scheduled dinner plans, either as part of the event, or for attendees themselves after the formal events have ended. Virtual events might make it seem as though dinners with other attendees are impossible, and that dinner conversations are a thing of the past. 

However, you can plan virtual dinners and send meals to attendees to encourage those conversations to start back up again. Meals provide a great environment for socialization, and help spark meaningful conversations. By sending meals to your attendees ahead of time, you can all enjoy a communal meal, even at home. 

Dinner Conversation Starters:

    • How often do you cook at home?
    • What is your favorite meal to cook?
    • What's your biggest cooking disaster story?

 

2. Pre and Post-Event Live Chats

During a virtual conference it can be hard to get conversations started, as the guests’ attention is typically placed on the speakers and keynotes, not each other. By hosting live chat events before and after the event itself, you can help create the types of conversations that would happen during networking time before a speaker during an in-person event. 

 A moderator can help keep conversations going rather than going stale, and it can help attendees feel more included in the event rather than just as a viewer at home through a computer screen. 

Conversation Starters:

    • What are you looking forward to in the upcoming speech?
    • Which speakers/classes/events are you most interested in?
    • What did you like most about the last presentation?
    • Did this event help you with gaining new knowledge/skills or professional development? 

 

3. Group Workouts & Meditations

One of the biggest challenges of working from home has been the strain on mental health. Events are no different, as spending a day in meetings looking at a screen can cause stress, exhaustion, and take away from important mental health activities. Take advantage of that need and get conversations going at the same time with group health activities.

You can organize a group meditation, yoga class, or even stretches and movements that can bring a group together. By debriefing afterwards, you can get conversations started and help bring your group closer together throughout your event. 

Conversation Starters:

    • What do you think of meditation practices?
    • What methods of relaxing and unwinding do you like to do?
    • How did the exercise we went through make you feel?

 

4. “Gala” Events

Sitting at home leads to many people missing out on some of the special formalities that come with in-person events. After all, it’s easier to put on comfortable clothes and relax when no one sees you in person. Bringing some of the glam of upscale in-person events to the virtual environment with an at-home gala and formal wear event can help you entertain your attendees and get conversations started. 

Conversation Starters:

    • When was the last time you attended a formal event in person?
    • How did it feel to get all ready and dressed up?
    • What does formal wear feel like when you're at the home office, rather than at an event?

 

5. Speed Networking

When you’re in a large group it can be hard to get conversations started, since there aren’t as many opportunities for one-on-one meetings. Speed networking and rotating one-on-one conversations not only allow your attendees to meet and network with other people, but they help create conversations rather than having a large group staring at their screens and not speaking with each other. 

Conversation Starters:

    • What has your experience been with the event so far?
    • Who is the most interesting person you've met during networking?
    • Where is your business located, and what do you specialize in?

 

6. Coffee or Wine Talks

Many networking events at an in-person conference or event will take place with some type of beverage involved. There’s no reason why the same environment can’t be created at home. Similar to sending meals, you can help create a conversation with your attendees by offering coffee or wine options that can be sent to attendees at home. 

You can combine the drinks with planned conversation prompts and topics, or you can let conversation flow openly as people become more comfortable with each other. It can also help to have a moderator with a planned list of conversation starters that involves people and encourages open conversation to start. 

Conversation Starters:

    • How do you usually order your coffee?
    • What is your favorite thing to drink at dinner?
    • What do you prefer: sweet drinks or bitter drinks?
    • How did you like the experience of making your drink at home?

 

7. Interactive Lessons

One opportunity that comes from a virtual event is the chance to have a guest speaker or master class teacher pop in without worrying about travel costs, reservations, and group limits. This allows the attendees to learn something together and have fun, which in turn allows natural conversations to flow.

Examples of interactive lessons include cooking classes, mixology lessons, and even flower arranging. Sending swag bags with gifts or boxes of ingredients or providing purchase lists ahead of time ensures that everyone is prepared for the lesson and allows attendees to get the most out of virtual event networking. 

Conversation Starters:

    • Did you learn anything new from the lesson?
    • What was your favorite part of the demonstration?
    • Have you ever done something like this before?
    • Did you have the right amount of space to participate at home or did you have to get creative?

 

8. Icebreaker Questions

One of the most difficult parts of running a video conference within a virtual environment is getting conversation ideas when the natural talking slows. Having a moderator is a great idea, but sometimes prompts that are too close to the industry, or topics of the event can stall out and make event planning even more difficult.

Having a list of icebreaker questions that are fun, thought-provoking, or unique can help create conversations that are meaningful and help attendees really learn more about each other on a deeper level. 

Conversation Starters:

    • What is your favorite part of working from home?
    • What was the last TV show you watched and what did you like about it?
    • If you were famous, what would you be famous for?
    • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

 

9. Match Programs

If you have a large group of attendees, it can be hard for your individual members to find others with similar interests that they want to message or meet with. Helping match up people is a great way to get conversations going.

Fortunately, with 6Connex you can utilize artificial intelligence and AI matchmaking within your virtual environment to study each attendee’s behavioral data. Whether it’s finding a new role or introducing someone to your product, 6Connex AI matchmaking serves as a means to deliver a personalized experience and get you to that next step.

However, if you don’t have access to AI within your environment, you can have profile badges, games to match those with similar interests, or even pre-planned lists of similar people in order to help attendees find each other. 

Conversation Starters:

    • How did working from home change your routine?
    • What is your role and what are the responsibilities you enjoy the most?
    • What type of music do you like to listen to?
    • What’s your favorite movie?

 

10. Small Groups and Roundtables

Even if you have a large group, you can still leverage breakout rooms and break into small groups. It’s much easier to talk with a smaller group of people than in an entire event space, so small groups and roundtables are a much better option to spark conversation. You can plan out which groups are created, or randomize them to find natural conversation starters.

Conversation Starters:

    • How has the virtual event experience been so far?
    • Which speaker had the most interesting information?
    • Have you enjoyed skipping the daily commute to work?

 

Making Networking Engaging

The best networking events, whether virtual, hybrid, or in-person, inspire natural, meaningful conversation between parties. However, sometimes those conversations need a jump start. By coming up with conversation ideas and making your icebreakers engaging and entertaining for attendees, you can make your entire event a better experience that will make them want to return time after time.


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