I'll never forget the moment. Time was called on the morning session, and everyone made a beeline for the lunch buffet. I held back though, to avoid the flying elbows and sweet chilli sauce. But I wasn't the only one. A long time guru of mine was also happy to stand on the side-lines for a moment, so I took the chance to strike up a conversation, using the food frenzy as an ice breaker.
And whilst the food itself was definitely questionable, there was no denying that the situation opened up a chance to connect over the fact we both weren't in hurry to sample the chicken nuggets and other assortment, in turn leading to a quick realisation that we had other things in common too.
Serendipitous moments like this are often the real reason we join events. That accidental bumping into someone that leads to a conversation that leads to a trusted advisor, a deal or new job is what makes joining most events worthwhile.
But in the online world, that magic is almost non-existent. And it's little wonder, when most virtual events are STILL only focused on passively transferring information from presenter to participant.
Hello! Expectations have evolved since Covid-19 knocked on our door, as this article from PCMA starkly highlights. The upshot: we now expect more than just the "knowledge" gained from joining a virtual event. Especially when most of what is shared is already available online.
At the very least we want the opportunity for less formal conversations, where people can share and create bonds and connect. And yes, we crave those serendipitous moments.
Can it be found online?
Well, virtual networking that actually works would be a nice start, a topic we tackled in our last post. Yet, sadly, even that seems to be a struggle for most.
And where there is some semblance of virtual networking, the chance of a serendipitous moment slapping you in the face is greatly diminished simply because - it's just not a great environment to “bump into someone” around the proverbial lunch buffet!
So we think it's high time to admit defeat with this one, and just accept we are going to have to wait for the vaccines to be rolled out and sky’s reopen. Which obviously can't happen soon enough for all our sakes!