If you attend virtual networking events, this article is for you.* You know how these events go: Everyone gives an elevator pitch, followed by group discussion. Unfortunately, some attendees (about 20%) display behaviors virtually that they wouldn’t in person.

The biggest gaffes occur during the pitches. Perhaps you’ve seen people who:

  • Take 5 minutes to deliver their 30-second pitch. (Okay, this happens at in-person events, too!)
  • Do computer work during everyone else’s pitches.
  • Walk away during everyone else’s pitches.
  • Turn off their video during everyone else’s pitches …to hide that they’re working or have walked away.**

Interestingly, those who deliver 5-minute pitches are often the same ones who work, walk away, or turn off their video when others are speaking.

Now let’s turn this whiny diatribe into positive action! To start, there’s an 80% chance you don’t commit these virtual faux pas. (Congratulations!) But you probably know people who do. Here’s your chance to be a good friend and give these folks a gentle nudge.

Here’s what you can suggest:

  • Respect everyone’s time
  • Give people the same attention you’d want others to give you
  • Take care of business before the event. That way, you can give your undivided attention (or at least maximize the chances thereof). This includes reading your emails, eating, going to the bathroom, and bribing your children to please give you peace.

It all comes back to the adage: “People will forget what you say but will remember how you make them feel.” Successful networking—whether in person or virtually—starts with caring.


* Even when life returns to “normal,” some organizations will likely continue offering virtual networking events. So this article still applies.

** This excludes true emergencies.

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