Every organiser knows that it’s not just the lure of great content, fabulous food or a day out of the office that brings guests to your events. One of the biggest draws is the chance to meet new contacts and to catch up with existing ones. But networking opportunities don’t just happen and some attendees might need a little assistance in making introductions. Read on to find out what you can do to maximise your guests’ success…
Networking starts long before you open the doors to your event. Whatever build-up marketing you do, make sure you start creating connections between your invitees so some networking groundwork can be done in advance. Building communities on social media platforms is a great way to allow your guests to begin to discover who their fellow attendees are going to be. If you ensure your social media content is engaging and interactive, this should be all you need to do to encourage communication.
Don’t be afraid to take a direct approach to networking at your event. Ask your invitees who they want to connect with and who they think they might be a useful contact for. They might not know individuals’ names, but job titles should give you enough to go on. Once you have this information take time during the event to make some personal introductions between your guests. If your event is big enough, there are even networking apps, some of which tap into LinkedIn, allowing your guests to assess their fellow delegates and make their own connections. You could also email round a ‘top tips’ feature of pointers to help the less accomplished networkers amongst your delegates.
Badges and introductions
It may seem obvious, but make sure all of your guests are wearing their name badges. Another way you can help people identify each other, is to ask anyone posing a question in your Q&A session to introduce themselves to the audience.
Make sure you create designated times for your guests to relax and socialise. With jam-packed schedules, it’s hard for delegates to network so allotted slots need to be made. If you’re catering for your networking session, it’s best to serve food people can eat with one hand (to save embarrassing incidents of splattered shirts) and don’t serve anything too spicy or strongly flavoured. It’s also worth laying the room out with high tables throughout your space so your guests can easily mingle while having somewhere to rest their plates and glasses.
Your event has hopefully helped your guests make some fabulous introductions, but your part isn’t over yet. Keep conversations going through your social media channels. Involve your speakers and make a concerted effort to get as many of your invitees engaged in discussions that were started at the event as possible.
Your next conference at No.11 Cavendish Square
As well as housing some fantastic rooms that have all the logistic and functional qualities a conference organiser needs, we also have some beautiful, inspiring spaces that lend themselves brilliantly to networking sessions. Make sure you speak to our venue team about our stunning Orangery and Courtyard and the Greenhouse when you discuss your booking. You can reach them on 020 7307 2474.