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Make networking easy for your conference delegates

by on May 28, 2019 in Events, Events & Awards, Latest News, Lead Article, News you can use, Nuggets

Make networking easy for your conference delegates

Networking at a conference seems simple in theory – put enough people in a space together and let the networking commence!

Whilst this may be the case for some – perhaps more extroverted – individuals, conferences attract a wide range of people and it can be wise to make networking as easy as possible for everyone at the conference, not just those who already find it a breeze.

Building connections is often an extremely understated benefit of attending face to face conferences and one event planners would do well to invest the necessary time and effort.

To achieve the ultimate networking experience for your conference delegates, there are a few elements to consider and this will form a part of even the very early stages of planning.

So be sure to always have your delegate hat on when making event planning decisions, after all, it is the delegates who the conference is serving. Set them up for success and your conference is more likely to succeed.

Setting the Scene

Making sure the venue you choose is ideal for networking is one of the most important elements. Ideally, you will need a venue that provides at least one large communal space for attendees to gather during breaks, perhaps with a few networking stations located near the refreshments.

Additionally, facilitate themed breakout areas/corners for certain topics to be covered or fun activities during refreshment breaks. Thus allowing those will similar interests to connect in a unified and relaxed manner.

First Impressions Count

Ensure you use well-designed name badges to ease any awkwardness. Make starting a conversation with a complete stranger as easy as possible – choose badges that don’t flip, are positioned well and have easy to read print of at least the first name.

Moreover, avoid mistakes and misspelling which can easily cause confusion and embarrassment. A good way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to have an onsite ID card printer so you can easily update any misprinted information.

Conversation Starters

Building your entire conference around easy networking is by far the best approach to take. Rather than seeing it as an element of your conference, instead, view it as something which should underpin the entire purpose.

Therefore, right down to the content in the programme, do whatever you can to tap into your audience’s interests with the aim of starting conversations and provoking health debates.

Create options, choice, flexibility and more important aim to ignite ideas and inspiration. Get your audience into the right state and your delegates will naturally relax and make new connections with ease.

Online Opportunities

Investing in a conference app is a great way to facilitate pre-conference connections. There are many to choose from but be sure to select the one which adds the most value in terms of networking.

Such platforms provide an easy way for attendees to get chatting prior to the event, making meet-ups and connections far easier during the conference.

Depending on the app capabilities, facilitate networking groups and conversation starters via prompts, competitions, topical debates, etc.

Catering Choices

Be sure to include a social buffet style lunch at your conference. Providing food is an occasion to bring people together in an informal and relaxed manner.

Make the eating area indicative of social interactions by providing small, grouped tables to make it less overwhelming for the more timid individuals.

Choose catering that is creative, eye-catching and tasty, after all, there is nothing like food to get peoples tongues wagging!

Perhaps you can also create designated zones to facilitate certain conversations, interests or ideas to be discussed. Though, how this works in practice will largely depend on your specific conference.

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