Organizing a networking event is one thing, actually getting people to connect with each other is another challenge altogether. What worked for event organizers 5 years ago probably won’t work today, and part of that may have to do with the changing tech landscape. Here are a few tips on how to integrate new tech into your networking events in order to encourage participants to link up with each other.
1. Spark Interest and Dialogue Online Before the Event
Take a page off the tech event playbook and start promoting your event weeks, even months, in advance. Twitter is a great place to start promoting events and conferences, so be sure to include the use of hashtags (i.e. our upcoming event's #MUG2016) in your marketing plans. Hashtags helps disseminate information, while also allowing you to measure audience engagement.
Tweet Archivist offers an exhaustive guide on how to use Twitter before, during, and after the event.
2. Encourage the Use of Creative Name tags with QR Cords, Websites, and Social Media Channels
Name tags are prime real estate for participants to tell each other a little bit about themselves. It’s also the first thing they’ll see when walking up to someone. Promote audience engagement by offering name tag templates where participants can add their name, title, industry, or better yet, a call-to-action where they can mention a project they’re working on and warm up potential connects.
3. Ditch Resumes—Encourage Participants to Bring Memory Drives Instead
Resumes are easy to lose and toss in the bin. Memory drives? Not so much. Everyone needs one after all. Your participants can never go wrong with carrying a few USBs containing their resumes and other relevant information, which they can then hand out to high-value connects. Get bonus points by giving away unique USB drives that you don’t see every day.
4. Encourage Attendees to Bring Online Portfolios
Being able to show off their work to other people puts your event participants at an advantage when networking. Encourage attendees to use the following options for sharing online portfolios:
• Tablet/iPad – The larger the screen, the better people can highlight their work samples, whether it’s a graphic design piece, a site, or an app.
• Google Drive – Having a PDF portfolio on Google Drive maximizes their ability to share it via NFC or BlueTooth.
• YouTube/Vimeo – Crucial if participants have video or production work they want to share with connects
When using tech at your events, the key is to make things convenient for your attendees. Just because you think a tech feature seems cool and trendy, doesn’t mean your participants will benefit from it. Put your attendees first and find ways to make things easier for them at your event.
Written By Tabitha Naylor
We're thrilled to be rolling out these great practices and more at our 3rd annual MUG conference here in Denver next week. Click below to learn how we're using MUG to drive our vision for the future of great events!