They likely have a second commonality, too. People who know each other best tend to sit and hang out with each other. This makes the shared meals and breaks lost opportunities to encourage team building and for attendees to get to know each other. Here are 3 ideas for encouraging networking at your next conference.
1- The first idea involves having plates on the tables already, then taping a number or a letter to the bottom of each plate. As the people who know each other linger to their usual groups and sit, ask them to look at the bottom of their plate and go to the table with the corresponding number. Offer that anyone from the same company/team take the opportunity to change tables.
After people are seated with their food, simply ask people to introduce themselves, give their title and a short synopsis of their company, then read aloud the five types of people they’d like to meet to their table. The other parties while listening and eating, write down at least one person each speaker should try to connect with if not also themselves and contact information. It helps to have individual pieces of paper with lines for contact details such as phone number, emails, website, and company name already on the table that table members can grab.
2- A second way to encourage networking is to provide casual coffee areas and/or private rooms at your conference where attendees can schedule one-on-one meetings. This will allow their mingle time to remain for introductions and still ensure they have ample opportunities throughout the show for more in-depth business discussions if necessary.
3- A third strategy to promote interaction is business card holders logoed with your convention name. These could be given out at the lunch/dinner sessions providing everyone a place to keep new contacts as well as extra business cards for themselves, and they’ll remember where they met those contacts.
Your conference is a huge investment and it’s important to utilize each opportunity to provide your attendee’s with every possible opportunity to meet others that will help them reach their goals throughout the year. Use these easy to implement strategies to promote networking at your next conference.
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