Events without networking are just Live-streamed videos. This is why we put a lot of thought and code in building a unique virtual events networking function.
Typically, there are two ways people network at events, 1-on-1 networking, and group networking.
Before we explain Balloon's 1-on-1 networking, let us uncover the problems of what's currently offered for online events and their problems:
❌ Random networking: Super random and instant networking that doesn't give the attendee control or choice over who they network with can leave many anxious to even try out the experience. This can only work for the type of people who are extroverts and are very keen to meet other new people. The other problem in this approach is meeting people by trial and error which frankly no one has time to go through in order to meet the right person. It's just too much effort.
❌ Scheduled networking: This approach is important to have as part of an event but from our research, we noticed that many attendees don't always honor the meetings they book. This is partly because the experience is fully online and attendees might feel less guilty knowing that the other person isn't physically waiting for them at a location. It makes this kind of meetings easier to ditch.
❌ Chat networking: Chat networking is the worst form of online networking as a lot of effort is required before the actual meeting can take place. Even though this approach covers some problems, but it creates a new problem called 'extra effort'.
✅. Balloon's 1-on-1 Networking:
This was our thought process when designing Balloon's 1-on-1 networking:
- Allow attendees to choose who they wish to meet
- Allow meetings to happen instantly
- Reduce anxiety among attendees
- Don't make anyone feel rejected
- Make the experience addictive
With these in mind, we went on to design the networking experience:
Browse different attendees, while you have 10 seconds to decide if you would like to connect with them or view the next option:
Once both of you connect, you will be able to see the person you are about to meet in a blurred video state with a call to action 'Start the call'.
Once you both connect, Voila! You can now have your 1-on-1 meeting for a period of time determined by the event organizer. You can all add the attendee you are networking with to your connections and get in touch with them in the future.
Note to organizers: If you are an organizer, please keep in mind that attendees can meet once. In order to allow attendees to meet more than once, you will need to clear matches in Balloon Manager in networking settings.
The other way people naturally meet in events is in small groups. These meetings can happen spontaneously or professionally.
It's human nature for us people to want to browse around and see from afar which groups of people seem interesting, spot someone we want to meet or a friend in a group. These instances create an urge for us to want to join these groups meeting.
This said we design our group networking function called Cocktail Tables.
- View who is on the tables before joining them.
- As an attendee, you can create your own cocktail table or join one if there is an empty spot and the table is unlocked.
- Tables max out at 4 in order to keep meetings intimate and meaningful.
- Having an important private conversation? Then you can lock the table at any time.
Happy networking. If you have any questions, feel free to message us in Live Chat or e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org.