Networking is the driving force behind conferences and one of the main reasons why people attend. Whether these are CIO conferences or some other international IT events, networking is the key factor that can boost the number of participants in such events. This is confirmed by a recent study by the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE): 76% of respondents named networking as the main driver in deciding whether to participate in an event or not.
Provide a guest with the opportunity to make valuable contacts – and get a satisfied participant who will recommend the conference to friends and write rave reviews online. Below, you’ll find some ideas to help attendees connect more, get to know each other better, and leave the conference with a smile on their faces and a dozen new contacts in their pockets.
How To Stimulate Networking At Business Event?
Here are some ways to stimulate networking at business events:
Topics To Start A Conversation
The first thing that conference participants pay attention to when meeting each other is badges. Why not make them networking assistants? Ask participants at registration what three topics they are interested in talking about, and add this information directly to their badge.
For example, organizers of Google’s ORD Camp event do this: large print visible from afar, stars for regular participants, the city where the guest came from, as well as three topics that the badge bearer will be happy to discuss.
Spontaneous Networking Activities
Offer conference participants spontaneous activities in between sessions. Use push notifications in the event mobile app to quickly notify attendees and gather at the right place. Activities not included in the program in advance and not announced in advance are perceived by the participants as a bonus. It’s nice to get more out of the event than expected.
Only For Groups
Instead of a coffee break, the organizers of one of the TED Conferences organized a picnic for the participants on a picturesque green lawn. Moreover, food baskets were given out only to groups of seven or more participants. An easy way to help start conversations and give participants a chance to get to know each other.
Idea for small events up to hundreds of participants. Give each guest a playing card at check-in. During the coffee break, offer to find participants with cards of the same denomination (twos, tens, ladies, etc.) and get to know everyone. For additional motivation, you can give prizes to the four who completed the task first.
Lounge Areas From Sponsors
Invite sponsors to organize lounge areas for visitors in their own style. Brands will get the opportunity to present themselves, and you will get cozy spaces for conversations and communication. For example, at the annual Sundance Film Festival, Intel hosted a “tech lounge” with a discussion area, virtual reality entertainment, and very real cocktails.
An event may or may not be socially engaging on many levels, down to how the space is organized. Venue design can promote communication through gamification elements, interactive seating design, and interactive activities. For example, Google at its traditional summer developer conference this summer organized lawns with giant checkers.
List Of Meetings In The Application
If you are using the application for an event with networking functionality, send an email in advance to all conference participants inviting them to register in the application and set up meetings. Reward with a gift the most active, for example, those who initiate or confirm more than 10 meetings.