Many professionals attend meetings, conferences and exhibitions as a way to network with others and build valuable relationships within their industry. As well as offering a way to learn, share ideas and present work, event planners should also ensure they are facilitating networking opportunities for attendees. This will help everyone get the most value out of an event and remind them of the relationships and connections they gained from it after it’s finished.
Here are six ways to facilitate networking at your next conference event and get people talking.
Using social media to connect attendees
Social media is an excellent tool for connecting like-minded people within their industries to build valuable connections and relationships. Promoting social media throughout your event and providing designated hashtags will make it easy for attendees to connect and engage with each other online, sharing their ideas and thoughts on the conference.
Small group meet-ups to facilitate networking
Creating small group meet-ups for people so they can match up with other conference attendees to discuss topics of interest can be less intimidating than trying to network in a room of hundreds of people. You can set up a separate networking area at the conference with tables and chairs for people to sit down and have interesting and valuable conversations.
Interactive table décor
If conference attendees will be seated at a table, it is a good idea to have interactive table décor rather than a simple decoration of flowers. For example, edible centrepieces, photographs, facts and statistics, games and cards with topics for discussion will encourage conversation and engagement between attendees.
Using games to break the ice
For many, networking events can be intimidating, so it’s important for you to make people feel comfortable and able to start interactions with one another. Games can be a great way to break the ice and spark up conversations and important discussion. Whether it’s interactive Q&As, polls and shared storytelling.
Host post event dinner or drinks
After what can sometimes be a long day of speakers, workshops and keynotes, conference attendees may want the chance to network in smaller groups and in a more private setting for after-hours events. Post-event meet-ups, such as private dinners or gathering for drinks, will help guests to build upon connections they may have made throughout the day, as well as meet new faces they may not have had the chance to speak to.
Choosing the right location
This is a vital part of encouraging networking at conferences. Firstly, you need to ensure the location of your conference is accessible via different means of transport. You also need to ensure there is space for different areas and zones if you want to have different keynotes and speakers throughout the day, as well as space for small group meet-ups and more intimate networking areas.
If you’re planning a conference or event and want to ensure you’re facilitating networking in the right way, get in touch! We have three exceptional venue spaces to hire and we can tailor the space exactly to your needs. Get in touch to find out how we can ensure your guests leave your event feeling accomplished and like it was a valuable day for both networking and learning.