By Tia Crawford
Networking is one of the main objectives of any corporate gathering. While the businesses involved, industries covered, speakers presenting, and ideas exchanged are different for every event, one thing remains constant:
Business Events Connect People to People, and They Connect People to Ideas
Naturally, technology plays a huge part in these connections! Whether it distributes the content and comments generated from a speaker’s ideas, or whether it’s facilitating the effortless transfer of B2B or B2C personnel and product information—technology is supporting us every step of the way as we break ground on pathways to new successes!
Suggestions for Conference Organizers
Event Managers and Planners have a LOT of aspects on their minds. It can be easy for networking to fall by the wayside in the midst of the more pressing issues that need attention. However, a little extra attention to networking opportunities can easily help make the conference more successful for attendees—therefore, a more successful event overall. As a Conference Organizer, if the goal of your event is to foster real conversations, the following technology options can help:
Event Registration Software—registration is, literally, the first step for event attendees. However, from the planning perspective, the right event registration software asks the right questions—who are your conference attendees and what do they want to achieve? Registration software has the capability to gather powerful data about your guests, allowing you to create the situations which help them accomplish their goals. For more information, consider reading this article on how data collection helps you read minds!
Charging Station Lounges—the popularity of charging station kiosks has increased dramatically. Event Planners know that their attendees NEED them, and their exhibitors WANT them. At conferences, a charging station lounge creates an ideal opportunity for face-to-face networking. Set aside a comfortable, designated area with charging stations—let conference attendees visit the lounge and use this free and necessary service. Although the average charge only takes between 7 and 12 minutes, it’s a perfect time to strike up a genuine conversation with fellow attendees. Even if lounge visitors aren’t a business match, studies show that conference-related friendships often play a significant factor in whether attendees return year after year.
Lead Retrieval Systems—a lead retrieval system is a networking master control key that helps Event Managers (and presenters and exhibitors) understand the choices, preferences, and patterns of their guests’ behavior—helping them to provide tailored options based on what their attendees truly want. Through barcoded attendee badges, Event Planners can monitor attendance at presentations and sessions, track breakout session participation, supervise traffic flow through the venue, and control surveys, games, and prizes—all of which help ensure that attendees are truly making the connections that they need!
Breakout Room Setups—breakout rooms are designed to facilitate more intense and direct communication for training, talks, presentations, collaboration, or co-learning. These smaller group interactions are an ideal chance for networking, since participants are focused and on-target, and each individual attendee is expected to contribute more freely. Help make the most of these sessions by providing excellent audio-visual presentation technology, such as high lumen projectors and optimized audio—for flawless sound and presentation quality. A Wi-Fi booster can also help ensure that the connections made during these sessions are made instantaneously.
Social Media Video Wall—nothing facilitates social connections faster than social media. Even in a face-to-face setting, social media still serves a valuable purpose by making it easier for people to put names to faces, to place names to businesses, and to bring the right opportunities together in the midst of a crowd. Social media acts like an index that helps us navigate the people around us, but it manages to take a lofty goal and make it casual and fun! Consider using a video wall to display a social media feed of guest comments—it’s an excellent way to keep attendee devices tied in to the work at hand, while keeping your attendees’ eyes and ears open for those magic moments when REAL connections are made!