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.
What do participants expect from the event?
Participants are fussier than ever before about what events they want to attend, and want to attend events that meet their specific needs. Conference networking is something they would like to attend before the event start to test the waters. So, let our participants free with their needs before you start promoting your large scale event.
Attendee networking goals
The most common goal event attendees have is to expand their professional network through networking opportunities. They travel to events to learn and meet others who can help advance them in their careers and so much more.
Importance of networking
Networking at meetings will not only help your participants land a job faster, find a business partner, sponsor or vendor faster, but it will give them a competitive edge throughout every stage of their career or any other activity. Here’s why networking is important to your success, and what you can do to improve your event networking skills throughout the course of your career development.
Networking opportunities for attendees
We’ve come up with some effective tips to improve your attendees’ experience. Learn about some networking at conferences ideas and implement some for your next event!
- Customized delegate list
For a list of tasks that you’ll need to delegate through other means, create a list that is customized to and adjusted for the issues of the participants.
- Networking event games
Implement networking games into your event. One game you can try at your next conference or event is human bingo. To offer a human bingo game, you’ll need to create bingo cards. These are typically a 5×5 matrix. Fill the boxes with things that are relevant to your unique industry and audience!
- Networking roundtables
Networking is crucial for the success of your event. Offer them a roundtable for comfortable networking instead of simply leaving it at “we’ll give our participants a 15-minute coffee break to network.”
- Utilise digital badges
Digital badges (also known as eBadges) are a validated indicator of accomplishment, skill, quality, or interest that can be earned in various learning environments. These are useful while networking.
- Create buzz with a pre-event online community
A great networking opportunity is always about creating buzz with some pre-event community gatherings, promotions, and other activities.
- 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.
The top 5 networking activities
- Create a list
The first thing you must do is create a list of prospects.
- Invite and set appointments
The second piece is about inviting and setting appointments. A public person will make faster desisions if come or not to the next event.
- Share your opportunity
Make sure to use Twitter. People who neglect Twitter when networking at events make a huge mistake. This social network, along with an official Facebook page or any other social media, is a good networking tool.
Tweet for every occasion:
- ticket sales launch
- a week before the event
- exclusive details about the event
- the day before the event
- 3-way calls
Learn how to merge calls. Find out about three-way calling, where you conference call with two different numbers and speak with both parties simultaneously.
- Promote events
Use videos to advertise the event and promote it for future participants. This format is better than text because the speaker’s charisma plays a key role; and if he or she has fans, they will definitely want to see him or her.
Do not forget to recap at the end either.
How to plan your event
Networking opportunities for attendees start with a good plan. Make sure to include the following items in it:
- Develop a vision for your event
- Put your team together
- Create an event budget
- Choose your venue and date
- Identify and engage event partners and sponsors
- Develop your event branding
- Develop and deploy your event marketing campaign
- Determine your tech needs
Creating a networking strategy
While visiting such events, it is necessary to set a goal: to meet two or three people, find the reason for re-contact, and start a relationship. Future sales will come from the recommended customers, those whom they may know and who may be interested in your products and services.
Identify your reasons to network. To create a successful networking strategy, you need to be clear about why you want to network in the first place. Communication allows you to generate the process of advertising by word of mouth, which turns into “clients by recommendation”. All entrepreneurs know that word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective and the least expensive form of attracting customers.
Work out how many contacts you need for your business networking opportunity.
Identify the people you should network with. Sometimes this is achieved directly. The rest of the time, it works indirectly through recommendations. In Asia, the person you meet knows someone who is interested in purchasing your goods or services and so on.
Review and then take action.
Call to action
Contact us to discover more networking event activities and to learn more about business event networking and how to make it productive.
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.
Find out more about what are networking opportunities with our help.
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