Networking is a major part of any event, regardless of the topic.
Attendees will mix, mingle and create new connections between speakers or events at your conference. It’s important to make sure this value-add is as productive as possible.
- Make sure your event app has social integration
If you are going to be tech-savvy and have an app to correspond with your event, choose one that allows for easy social connection for your guests. LinkedIn is a great social resource for professionals, as it allows your attendees to browse who are coming and for what company they work. They can also view common connections with those they may want to meet, to allow for an easier start to a discussion. Providing social channels allows your guests to properly prepare to make the most of networking at your event.
- Adapt the traditional format to include networking-focused activities
Sometimes people from different backgrounds or rankings will have a hard time connecting with one another. Integrate activities to make it easy for different people to meet and forge connections where otherwise not as likely. Julius Solaris recommended using the speed-dating concept – pair up wildly different individuals, allow them a certain timeframe in which to talk, and then have people swap around.
- Provide attendees with a mobile-friendly, interactive schedule
Giving your attendees freedom to plan their own schedule at your event allows them to prioritise networking on their own time. Mobile-friendly doesn’t always have to mean apps. Many event websites are mobile optimised and have schedules allowing attendees to pick and choose what part of the events to attend.
- Create an online community for your attendees
Social integration with LinkedIn allows your attendees to prepare for those they would like to meet at the upcoming event. Creating a forum or online group before your event begins provides a way for your attendees to already start forging connections before they even sign in at the registration table.
- Design the layout and setup of breakout areas with networking in mind
Coffee stations are natural areas for people to congregate and connect with one another. Think of how your refreshment stations are set up at your meeting to encourage movement. If people are sedentary, they are less likely to engage in conversation with their fellow attendees.
Compiled by: Melissa Jane Cook. Source: Travel and Meetings.