3 Secrets to Effective Event Networking: Research, Reciprocate and Resolve
May 08, 2014 by DeDe Mulligan

network

Every attendee, exhibitor, speaker and sponsor has a secret goal when they come to your meeting or conference: They want to meet the client of their dreams. The million dollar prospect that signs the multi-year contract. Barring that, someone who will lead them to more and more business. 

However, most of the time, they are sorely disappointed. Why?

Because they spends 70-80% of the time talking about themselves. Their products. Their service offerings. Their benefits. 

But what does their audience hear? Blah….blah….blah!

So how can you make a difference? According to Dorie Clark, Harvard Business Review contributor, there are three things that need to happen to make a quality networking connection. Here they are, along with the event planning tools that can help speed this process along. 

RESEARCH

If you are using an online registration system, you should be able to see who is coming to the conference. Here are three easy things you can do to encourage interaction before the session begins:

  1. Encourage attendees, sponsors, and speakers to connect with each other on LinkedIn.  
     
  2. As an event organizer, make certain you are connected to all your stakeholders. 
     
  3. Start a LinkedIn Group or Subgroup specific to the event and give attendees a reason to come back to regularly before and after the conference.

    Ask questions like "Why are you attending this conference?" "What do you do for fun?" "Tell us about yourself". Use this information for icebreaker slides that can be displayed in PowerPoint presentations throughout the conference. 

Bottom line according to Clark: Give them a reason to connect with you. 

 

RECIPROCATE

Once they are face-to-face at the conference, attendees, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors need to offer each other some benefit.

  • Attendees: Help out other attendees by networking when you are gathered around the charging kiosks. The facilitator can ask questions and lead the discussion toward helping, not selling. 
     
  • Speakers: Remain at the entire conference and get to know attendees before, during and after your presentation. 
     
  • Sponsors and exhibitors: Ask qualifying questions of attendees (based on your research) and determine rather quickly if the attendee is a match for your products and services. If they are not a good match, refer the attendee to the right company. 

 

RESOLVE

Whatever your role at a conference, the key is to follow-up with the items you agreed to do. 75-85% of all conference exhibitors, speakers and attendees never follow-up. Resolve to be different at this conference and execute whatever you agreed to do. 

  • Attendees: Make certain to email, mail or call whoever you agreed to – even if you don't have the answer the other person wants to hear. For example, if you met an exhibitor and thought they should come in and meet with your boss, only to learn your boss doesn't want to entertain that company's proposal – just be straight. At least they know you tried. 
     
  • Speakers: Email attendees answers to questions you need to do more research on. 
     
  • Exhibitors:  Use lead retrieval systems to automate what action you need to take with each attendee and do so within 72 hours of the trade show ending. 

SmartSource Rentals is a total technology rental company with 21 locations to serve you! They are easy to contact either by telephone 800.888.8686, by live chat or by filling out their quick quote form. They are in the business of helping you with interactive technology tool rentals for your next event! 

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