Our Love/Hate Relationship with Networking and How Technology Can Help
Aug 13, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

 

Besides educational content, networking is a close second as to why individuals attend a conference or convention. They want to meet new people in their field. They want to expand their network. They want to feel connected. But they want to do all this with little to no effort — and that is just down right impossible.

Think about the last time you were at a networking event. How many new people did you meet? If you are anything like me, I gravitate to the people I already know because it is comfortable. Then I usually say to myself, “that was a waste of time” because I didn’t meet anyone new.

But what if your event services company helped attendees feel more connected to each other? The whole purpose of networking is to deepen connections, whether it be the first or fifteenth time they have met fellow attendees.

Here are 7 ways event planners can help their group navigate through the small talk.

Before the event

  • Publish the Attendee List Online. When individuals are thinking about registering for your event, they may want to attend because they recognize certain names on the list. Make certain to include the attendee’s name, occupation, company and Social profiles. This initiative can be a conversation starter, even if your event is several months away.
  • Ask attendees who they know and who they would like to know. Finding out who they would like to know can help the planner create opportunities to get those individuals together sometime during the event.
  • Assign mentors to  “at risk” individuals. Identifying attendees who do not know anyone at the meeting, allows you the opportunity to assign a mentor to them who can create introductions. Your mentors should positive, outgoing, and well-connected.

At the event

  • Rent iPads that have an app to tell attendees when other participants have checked-in. This will allow individuals to start an online dialog as soon as they register. They don’t have to wonder if someone is at the conference or wait until the morning to connect with them.
  • At education sessions, have conference services set up the room in rounds of 6 to 10 seats. A theater, classroom, or U-Shape setting discourages networking because attendees are limited to the 2 individuals sitting on either side of them. Rounds allow for a more natural networking environment.
  • Assign individuals to tables where they will not know anyone else. 
  • Use Powerpoint presentation equipment to display icebreaker questions. Displaying simple questions such as “What did you do on your summer vacation?” or “How did you happen to end up in your line of work?” can easily be displayed via Plasma display rental or screen rentals.

AV Event Solutions is your California meeting equipment provider! They can supply you with iPads, laptops, Plasma TVs, and LCD Projector and screen rental units. Give them a call today at 888.249.4903 to learn more about their offerings.

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