How to encourage networking among your event attendees?
“What’s that one thing event attendees direly need? ”
As an event organizer, you must have brainstormed over this question quite often. If your answer to this was a celebrity keynote speaker or attractive booths, then you need to reconsider it. These things are expected, even appreciated but not direly needed. Attendees instead crave for networking opportunities. After all, events are about connecting opportunities, failing which your event can’t succeed.
Here are these 5 ways to encourage networking in your event-
Create an online community
“Create a buzz way before the actual business starts!” Event attendees are restless these days, they believe in building connections prior to the event. As an organizer, you are bound to cater to this need with an online community. With the advent of social media, creating an online community is no big deal. But social media is already crowded. A personalized event app can help you create an online community precisely for your attendees. Messaging and sharing features encourage networking automatically.
Nourish your community
Creating an online community is not enough, nourishing it is yet another fight. But with a few hacks, you can always keep your online space engaging. You can organize contests, keep your users updated about the event, running a countdown to day zero will keep them informed and interested.
You can post regular event updates with catchy hashtags and appoint event ambassadors. Always be ready to experiment and see what’s the best you can do to encourage networking.
Encourage networking spaces
One good way to provide attendees with networking opportunities is through networking zones. These networking zones also help in overall attendee engagement.
Moreover, we don’t always need to allocate a separate space for the networking zone. Charging stations, coffee stands, lounges, snack bars etc can easily be transformed into networking zones. Attendees gather at these places in a relaxed mood. Thus, these places are conducive to networking.
Sometimes, organisers need additional planning for networking. There are events that keep on recurring and have repeat attendees. This becomes unfair for the first-timers who start feeling left out. To avoid such a scenario, organisers can have pre-event kick-off sessions to facilitate networking for first-time attendees.
Categorize your event listings
The human mind loves the things that are sorted. You can sort your guest/exhibitor list categorizing them under different tags. This provides targeted networking to the attendees, enhancing the overall credibility of your event.
Redefine event storytelling
Like any other brand, events also need storytelling. If your event storytelling doesn’t include networking yet, you must redefine it. It should circumscribe around networking you have offered in the past. Be it a random conversation converting into a successful business deal or an entrepreneur who found investors, craft a networking tale that inspires.
“If you really want to connect with them, tell them about the connections you have catered!”
Attendees already attend the events with the intention of building a network and establishing strong connections. Organisers can easily channelise this intention to boost event engagement. With a thoughtful strategy and creative use of technology, the event can gain significant networking potential, which enhances its credibility for future editions.