Savvy event organizers know they can’t just leave the ability of their participants to meet and network with each other to chance. Instead, smart planners take a hands-on approach to encouraging one-on-one connections and creating pockets of networking activity within large events to facilitate communications.
From gamified interactions, lotteries, to table discussions, below are a few ideas worth considering for your next networking event.
1. Gamify Interactions
Let’s face it, not everyone does well at networking events, so your job is make the experience as un-awkward as possible. One way of doing that is with icebreakers, which encourage interaction through games and other fun activities.
For example, customize a spinning wheel game to encourage conversations and sharing by writing a question on different section on the wheel, such as, “What do you love most about your job?” or “What’s one career experience you value the most?’
Get more icebreaker ideas for events from this list by Business Insider.
2. Hold Lotteries for Sit-downs with Resource Speakers
Great resource speakers are one of the biggest draws to networking events. You can sweeten the pot even more by holding lotteries for random people to have a sit-down meeting with the speakers, giving them a rare opportunity to get insights from influencers.
Lottery winners can join speakers for a sit-down meeting, a one-on-one, or a ‘dine around.’ The choice is up to what your participants find the most appealing.
3. Organize Round Table Discussions
Deciding what to talk about is often the hardest challenge for event participants. You can make things easier by organizing round table discussions, assigning a specific topic or question that’s relevant to the overall theme of your event.
With round table discussions, consider assigning an industry expert to each table to act as moderator. Leaving participants on their own might produce poor results by not giving each person in the table a fair share of talk time.
4. Market Your Event Early to Generate Interest
Generating interest is crucial to ensuring your event has as many participants as possible. Months before the event date, begin an offline and online marketing campaign to reach out to attendees and potential resources speakers. Use Twitter hashtags, send email notifications, and put up ads around your city to build as much hype as possible. The earlier you start marketing, the more time you give your participants to scout for potential connects and plan networking strategies.
Whatever strategy you choose to implement in your next event, your goal is to help people communicate and connect with each other. In turn, this raises the value of your event and brand as an organizer.
Written by Tabitha Naylor
In just two days we'll be opening the doors to our 3rd annual MUG Conference where event professionals will network, collaborate on the toughest challenges facing the events industry, all to conquer their next event like never before.