When planning a networking event format and events for the year, you likely know what results you want to achieve: gaining credibility in the market segment, expanding the audience of the brand, impressing key customers of the company, etc.
However, communication among participants is no less important than the marketing indicators or reports of the speakers. Give people a networking opportunity to make the right contacts at your event and you will significantly elevate the value of that event.
Networking opportunities definition
Networking opportunities is more about creating the best conditions for networking, rather than just picking the best time and place for mingling or connection. Apart from the common networking opportunities for attendees, like an appropriate venue, communication zones or recreation options, there also may be some tech ideas to create opportunities and experiences that you can use for better event organisation.
Here are some ideas for attendees networking opportunities you may want to use at your next event.
Networking opportunities for attendees
We’ve created some effective tips to improve your attendees’ experience. Learn about these and implement some for your next event!
- Invite a networker
Begin the event with a speech by one of the organisers or a networker. Tell participants about the networking opportunities, explain the benefits of making new acquaintances, and suggest the exchange of business cards with other attendees. At such events, people often spend several days sitting next to one another and never strike up a conversation.
- Use a convenient platform
What is a convenient platform for professional communication? Of course, you must consider the specifics of your event and the profile of your guests, but there are also basic formats that will help you organise a successful business or scientific event both off- and online. GEVME is one of the best universal platforms to achieve that.
- Organise competitions
Invite attendees to participate in competitions. It’s important to put all your effort into developing a complete form, thus providing the opportunity to satisfy thirst for professional communication.
- Install a connecting wall
In a networking area or other location with good footfall, install a Connecting Wall. This is a stand where participants can attach their business cards and find contact info for other participants. Install this “wall of contacts” in such a way that it is convenient to approach. You can organise the wall so attendees place their business cards according to certain topics (I am looking for an investor, I am offering a job, etc.) or they can attach their cards arbitrarily.
- Arrange coffee breaks
Almost any business conference or meeting begins with a cup of coffee. During these breaks, the guests communicate, get to know each other, make contacts and exchange opinions. As a rule, you should plan some coffee breaks, lunches or cocktail hours during the event. Create a comfortable business environment for your guests; it should be tasteful and unobtrusive, allowing the guests to communicate in a relaxed atmosphere.
- Arrange lounge areas
If the venue capacity allows for it, be sure to organize so-called lounge areas where guests can sit at their computers or chat. Soft sofas or desktops are also options—you decide—but Wi-Fi, electrical sockets and the ability to buy coffee and water are essential.
- Offer associated programmes
Evenings are an indispensable part of big business events. Evening events tend to be for a certain group of delegates, for example, the board of trustees, lecturers or just a separate section. For guests, this is a more solemn event, so let the locale, the menu, and the design speak for themselves. Yes, you should also give these elite guests the opportunity to relax – drink, dance and listen to pleasant music. Another perk of the programme is excursions, such as a visit to the theatre if you have a lot of guests from other cities or countries, for example. By creating networking opportunities like these, you immediately achieve two goals: give delegates the opportunity to see the sights and do so in a circle of people who are interesting and useful to them.
- Launch a mobile app
If you have a mobile application, notify your participants in advance. This will allow them to register, create their profiles and continue to communicate during the event. Ensure that reliable Wi-Fi is in place so that people can more actively engage in networking at the event. Also, to involve more participants, ask the speakers to use this application.
- Use innovations
Apply new technologies whenever you can. Networking opportunities definition is about making it easier for guests to make new acquaintances and helping them find good business contacts. Give your guests as much member information as possible to further simplify this process. Today there are plenty of opportunities for this, in both traditional paper form and the more modern electronic counterparts. Special applications have been developed for smartphones that allow access to the current programme and the address book of delegates, or advanced platform services like online registration, email marketing, onsite registration, name badge printing, and event mobile app features, etc.
Of course, the list of how to create networking opportunities can include many other pieces of advice. It is up to you to decide which elements to include in the programme, what exactly your guests will like and how to create the best possible networking opportunities for your attendees. One thing is important: be sure to consider all of this beforehand! Don’t forget to think through each networking element of the event for both participants and attendees.
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