Are you looking for creative ways for your members to connect and socialize while staying at their homes?
Hosting a virtual networking happy hour can offer a collaborative way for your members to stay connected and grow their network while enjoying the benefits of a happy hour. Let’s talk about some engagement best practices to keep in mind when planning a virtual networking happy hour for your association members.
In order to give everyone a chance to contribute and engage, try and keep groups relatively small, about 10 – 15 people. You can drive smaller groups together by several factors, including region, demographics, or networking topics. If you are hosting one for a larger group plan to have a moderator present to keep things running smoothly.
Late in the day is a great time to host a networking happy hour. It allows for a pleasant transition to the end of the day and a chance for your members to unwind. Take into consideration time zones that may need to be accommodated. Stick to a couple hours for your event. This allows for your members to filter in and out, if needed, while also being mindful of their time.
Set expectations for attire. Give your attendees a reason to dress up like they are going out! This could be a nice change of pace from a more casual at home regimen. You could also make this a causal happy hour and let your attendees be comfortable at home. Whatever you decide, make sure to communicate this ahead of time so your members know what to expect.
Consider creating a theme or contest for happy hour drinks. Ask everyone to create their own quarantine themed cocktail and have a small giveaway for the best drink idea. Keep in mind inclusivity for those who may not drink alcohol by clarifying that smoothie and coffee ideas are accepted as well. We are all in this together so encourage creativity and fun at your virtual event.
Have a set of conversation topics and ideas to help drive the networking event. These could be related to your association or industry. Offer some lighter topics as well. Below are some ideas you could add to the conversation:
What TV shows or movies have you been watching that help you during this time?
What is one small thing that brings joy to your day?
What is your top advice on working from home?
What would your manta or quote be for your career right now?
Who do you see most often now?
What is the best thing about being stuck with that person/people?
Offering this networking happy hour is a great member benefit and engagement tool. With the limitations that virtual events eliminate, consider offering these year-round! There is minimal financial investment and these events allow you to offer an activity your members can look forward to, no matter where they are.
Take the next step
YM Careers has an array of event offerings for your members. Interested in a multi-focused event? You can even Host an all-in-one event. All-in-one events combine different themes that complement each other, such as Membership and Networking, Career Coaching and Resume Review