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Virtual event 101: how to make real connections in the digital world

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As we enter the era of digital calls and virtual conferencing, how do you stay connected with your peers in the industry? Read on to find out how SuperReturn is leading the way in helping the industry make connections, exchange knowledge, and build relationships. 

For the past two decades, participants in private capital have relied on SuperReturn conferences to forge and strengthen GP/LP relationships, better understand the nuances shaping investment and fundraising activity, and serve as the centerpiece of marketing efforts to foster trust and alignment with key organisations.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly created new challenges in the way peers in the industry can network and make connections, most people have adapted to the circumstances and piled themselves under endless Zoom calls.

The unprecedented changes in the world over the last few months have deeply impacted our communities and families. Aware of these challenges, we have created an event that is content rich, full of opportunities, and brimming with insights and ideas to help LPs and GPs adapt to maintain their presence in the market and communicate effectively with other private capital participants.

It’s an evolution we’ve embraced to the full at SuperReturn, although for remote conference “goers”, it helps to understand the tools now available that not only emulate physical events but can even provide for an enhanced experience.

The virtual event experience

Consider the experience itself. To be sure, there has never been one correct way to participate at a physical event. Many, for instance, would spend their entire time networking, knowing that the programming will draw many of the most well-regarded investors from across the broader market to the event. Others may have been keen to attend every panel and connect with delegates only during networking hours. A silver lining of the new virtual experience is that it has become easier to take in the entire event without having to choose between an important meeting and a panel that covers trends in a key market.

The programming itself is just as dynamic, with a platform that streams live sessions and allows for real-time Q&As. It’s also been the case that delegates are more likely to engage with the panelists -- asking the questions they want to ask – than they would otherwise do during in-person events. And, freed from the burden of travel, not to mention jet lag, the virtual experience is more accessible and time efficient. Delegates can also access the conference platform 24 hours a day with content available on demand for up to a week following the event.

Naturally, those who depend on conferences for meeting new contacts or strengthening existing relationships are going to question how well the networking experience of a premier physical event can translate over to a virtual platform.

Powerful virtual networking

Be reassured. There are plenty of opportunities for delegates to meet and make connections at virtual events. Even before the event kicks off, delegates can scan the directory and seamlessly start conversations via SuperReturn’s partneringONE® platform.

During the event, digital meeting rooms, for instance, allow “attendees’ to initiate conversations with GPs and LPs. The program also allows for ample time to meet with peers throughout the event, while virtual booths on the event platform create opportunities to discover solutions providers with specialised skillsets and capabilities. The partneringONE® platform will remain open after the event, allowing delegates to download their meeting history and any contact details shared during conference.

See our checklist below to make sure you're networking smartly and effectively.

Virtual event networking checklist

The same premium content

The content, of course, has always been SuperReturn’s calling card. By attracting world-class speakers across private capital, and facilitating meaningful and provocative discussions, our programming is the draw that makes the networking experience so robust.

This year is no different, other than the pronounced COVID-driven shift in the deal-making and fundraising landscapes. It’s against this backdrop, however, that investors have an even greater appetite for insights and best practices that can light the way in a market with little clarity. Again, through SuperReturn’s virtual event platform, all the programming can be watched live or on demand.

To be sure, the pandemic and social distancing guidelines are forcing many throughout the industry to develop new or previously unused skills. Many, for example, had little experience themselves utilizing digital capabilities either to market their businesses or communicate with key organisations. Digital AGMs are now fast becoming the norm.

While these new undertakings can seem intimidating at first, it is almost always the case that new capabilities are discovered that will serve investors now and into the future. And private equity’s premier virtual event is no exception.

Want to join a SuperReturn event? Find out more about our virtual  and in-person events for 2020 and beyond >>

With thanks to BackBay Communications for their contribution to this article. 

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