8 March 2021 / Blogs

NETWORKING at ONLINE CONFERENCES: Top Tips to get the most out of virtual events

In the times of the Covid pandemic, learning how to cope with social distancing means, for academics, trying to switch from face-to-face to virtual networking. As all of us know, academic conferences are ideal places to network with people in one’s area of expertise. Many of us have had that * (exciting?! Scary?! Thrilling?! Choose the adjective you like or, perhaps, all of them) experience of shaking hands with well-established scholars. Not long ago, conferences allowed aspiring academics to meet the ‘celebrities’ in their fields. Yes, flesh and blood! However, that is no longer possible.  

While online conferences might sound like a less exciting alternative to face-to-face events, they actually open a wide range of possibilities to network. Here are some tips to get the most out of such virtual events:

  1.   Familiarise with the platform: make sure you know how to log in/log out, mute/unmute yourself, switch your camera on/off etc. on the conference’s chosen platform. If you need, don’t be afraid to ask the organisers for a trial!
  2.   Participate, don’t be shy: many organisers use online tools such as FlipGrid to upload presentation videos ahead of the conference. You can get to know the other participants. Plus, if you fancy, you can record a video to introduce yourself. You can even practice in front of the mirror and show the best version of yourself!
  3.   Turn on your cameras, when appropriate: when organisers allocate breaks, or set times for discussion, make sure your camera is turned on. If participants see your face on screen, they might be willing to break the ice and talk to you.
  4.   Go bigger: you can virtually attend conferences organised all over the world from the comfort of your own room. Take this chance!
  5.   Take breaks: online networking can be tiring. Make sure you take screen breaks and, most of all, don’t feel like you need to network at all times.

The virtual world of conferences opens many possibilities to network, some of which are covered in these tips. If you have more and want to share them with our virtual community email us at or via our social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram)