Now more than ever before, live streaming and other virtual/hybrid meeting technology is making it easier to skip out on an event and consume content online. Despite this, there is a big reason face-to-face events are in no way dying out- you can’t beat the power of networking. Connecting and developing personal relationships with others in the same industry, potentially finding new business prospects and contacts are often the primary reasons to attend events.
So once you have attendees at your event and enough valuable content to keep them interested, you can make their experience even better by making sure you facilitate an interactive space. You don’t need to go to extremes and force people to network but you can definitely make it easier for them to do so.
You can start by facilitating the conversion before the event. One way to do this is by distributing an attendee list. This gives them a no-pressure chance to connect via social media. If publishing the attendee list is something you cannot do, assigning a hashtag for your event promotes discussion and gives your attendees an easy way to connect with others.
During the event, you can make sure attendees interact by having conversational ice-breakers. We’ve seen a meetup with a casual open platform where anybody can go up and say a little about what they do. If you have seating, you can arrange attendees by industry or other common grounds. Assigning tasks is also a great way to promote discussion.
During one of our events, we put up a display of several social media related tasks attendees should take part in. They were very simple- like taking a photo with 3 people and posting it on facebook, or finding like-minded blogging contributors- but most of all, they were engaging.
How do you facilitate networking at your events? Tell us below in the comments, we would love to hear! Also, check out photos of our events on facebook to get an inside look into how we promote networking!