5 Ways to Break Through the Virtual Crowd and Network Like a Pro


Next week, starting on Monday, June 21, thousands of fraud fighters all around the world will log in to the 32nd Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference, where dozens of speakers will appear on computer screens to share their knowledge and expertise. While the learning opportunity is tremendous, another valuable part of any conference you attend is the networking.

For some people, just hearing the word “networking” makes them cringe. And even though we’ve all been attending virtual events for more than a year, we know that virtual networking can still feel a bit, well…awkward.

But instead of thinking of it as something icky that you have to do, consider it your chance to meet others in your field who are doing similar work. Basically, these are all the people you can nerd out with about fighting fraud.

We promise, it’s not as uncomfortable or weird as you might think (not once you get the hang of it). Below, we’ve put together five tips to help you navigate these strange, but rewarding, digital waters.

1. Participate in all the chats.

Just like last year, we are using Discord as our main networking channel. Attendees can find and join the conference Discord channel through the Conference Hub. The Conference Hub is a webpage where you can find everything you need for the event. There, you will see all the sessions for the day, links to the networking and sponsor information, and other useful information. There will also be chats during the sessions. Put yourself out there. Say hello. Get to know your fellow attendees through these avenues.

Discord is open now. So if you’re already registered, open up the Conference Hub, click on the “Networking” tile and set up your Discord account.

2. Connect with people on LinkedIn.

It’s so easy to lose touch with people that you meet at a virtual conference. We recommend finding and connecting with fellow attendees right after meeting them. Whether it’s someone you connected with in a session chat or on Discord, or if it’s a session speaker whose presentation you enjoyed, send them a connection request with a quick, simple note. Here’s a sample template:

Hi, I just saw you speak at the ACFE Global Fraud Conference and enjoyed your session on [topic]. Reaching out to say hi!

Then, after the flurry of the conference is through, you can go back and start having deeper conversations with those new friends. Sometimes the connections you make at the conference end up becoming lifelong friends.

3. Take a Brain Break.

We understand that three days of online learning can be intense, so we’ve built in little things called “brain breaks” to encourage you to take periodic refreshes throughout the conference. You can access these through the Conference Hub. Here are the many different options to choose from.

  • Unplugged with Lee Roy Parnell: These concerts are 15 minutes long and take place during breaks on all three days of the conference.

  • Morning Yoga: Begin your days at the conference with morning yoga sessions led by Carrie Felton. Felton will focus on exercises that help open your hip and chest muscles, which is helpful for spending long hours sitting at a desk.

  • Mixology Happy Hour: Following the last session of the day on Monday and Tuesday, a mixologist will show you how to create special cocktails to enjoy while you chat with other attendees. Recipe cards can be found on the Brain Break tile in the Conference Hub so you can get your ingredients in advance.

  • Lunch With Chef Brad: Chef Brad will use common, household food items to demonstrate how to make an easy, delicious lunch on the go.

  • Petworking: Who doesn’t love to see a furry face on their screen? Join us Wednesday, June 23 from 10:30-11:05 a.m. CT for Petworking, brought to attendees by Wag & Walks, an amazing organization whose first priority is rescuing dogs and nurturing them for adoption.

  • Mindfulness Meditation: These mindfulness sessions will help you focus your mind and get rid of distractions so you are ready to make the most of your conference learning.

4. Use the #FraudConf hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

There’s a virtual photo booth in the networking tile of the Conference Hub where you can pick a fun background and share it on social media. Last year, the #FraudConf hashtag was used more than 2,000 times by nearly 1,000 attendees. Be sure to share your insights, key takeaways and thoughts about the conference on Twitter and Instagram using #FraudConf. Then search the hashtag to see what others are saying about the event. It’s a fun, interactive way to get to know your fellow attendees.

5. Organize a networking event in your city.

If you’re ready to branch out and meet people in person, many regions and areas have lifted restrictions on social gatherings. So while we can’t all meet in one place this year, you could use Discord to organize an evening meetup in your city.

You could either meet up with fellow attendees during the conference itself or in the following weeks. Compare notes, make new friends and strengthen your local connections. If there’s an ACFE Chapter in your area, even better!

There is no shortage of opportunities for you to make at least one or two new friends. We truly hope you’ll make the most of this virtual setting to discover what we already know to be true — you are part of something bigger.

If you haven’t registered for the 32nd Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference, there’s still time. We hope to see you and meet you there!

Register Today