The right format for networking at your event often sets the tone for the entire occasion. Ideally, your event format should be based on: event goals, industry and common interests, Size of the event, and number of people attending. Fortunately, there are no right or wrong answers when choosing a networking event format. To help make your choice easier, we’ve put together a list of ideas to choose from.
1. Elevator Pitch Events
As the name suggests, this format is designed after the Elevator Pitch, a clear and concise introduction of yourself, what you do, and the company you work for/own, done in the time it takes to ride up the elevator.
With elevator pitch events, participants are divided into groups (possible with matchmaking software), and given 5 minutes to talk about their expertise and industry. Potential connects can then approach each other after the discussion.
2. Speed Networking
Think of it as speed dating but with a business-oriented goal. At speed networking events, participants are divided into two groups: half sitting on individual tables, the other moving from table to table every 5 to 10 minutes—enough to make quick introductions.
Speed networking events are more intimate, but their fast pace makes them more exciting and effective at breaking down any awkwardness with introductions.
Sometimes, it’s not enough for event participants to just talk about what they do, they need to show it instead. With exhibition-style events, groups of participants put up booths, ala trade show style, where they can display their projects and portfolios in view of other attendees.
4. Networking Tables
Roundtable discussion tables are a tried and tested networking strategy, where small groups of people sit down and talk for 30 to 60 minutes about certain topics or questions relevant to the theme of the event. Each table is moderated (ideally by a resource speaker) to ensure each participant is given time to speak and share ideas with the rest of the group.
5. Group Competitions
If you’ve joined a team building activity before, this format should be familiar. In these events, participants are divided into groups and compete against each other in a variety of challenges designed to show their skills and expertise in their industry. Naturally, challenges should take into account the different niches all participants come from to ensure a fair playing field.
Of course, event contests don’t have to be competitive in nature. You can always have contests just for the fun of it.
Whatever format you choose, just remember to base your decision on what’s likely to engage your participants most effectively. And don’t limit yourself to just one format—you can always mix and match as you please in order to facilitate connections between attendees.
Written By Tabitha Naylor
Next week we'll be firing up great, curated networking tables at our 3rd annual MUG Conference! We're bringing to life our dream event, and it all starts with connecting, click below to learn more.