Networking Tips From an Expert

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networking tips
Set the stage for networking.

Event networking is a priority for attendees and these networking tips will help you create every opportunity for them to connect.

According to EventMB, 82% of corporate planners say event networking is attendees’ top priority. So it needs to be yours, too. Here are 4 event networking tips to help improve attendee engagement.

Create the right space

There are lots of questions to ask when choosing a venue, including how you can optimize it for event networking. HubSpot does this well at its INBOUND conference. They create areas that pull in attendees and nudge them to connect.

At INBOUND 2020, for instance, HubSpot set up lounges with charging ports and photo ops. People charged their devices, struck up conversations, and took pictures for social media. There was a sponsored fitness lounge with classes. Attendees could work out together, a great way to create common ground and break the ice. Strategically distributed food stations and bars allowed the crowd  to mingle and directed them to sponsors and exhibitors.

Tap into social media

A good pre- and at-event strategy for social media amplifies your attendees’ conversations. Start by generating an event hashtag, then weave that into your pre-event marketing. Social media posts, newsletters, ads, etc. Traction is key.

At the event, reward attendees for social activity. For instance, at its first REACH conference, G2 reserved some premium swag. Attendees could get it if they showed a social post with a photo, the event hashtag, and/or tagged speakers.

Be smart with your app

A good event app doubles as an event networking app. Attendees can take networking into their own hands by creating their own profiles and exchanging information. They can even message each other directly and schedule meetings.

It also makes finding the right contact so much easier. Some people want to find a new vendor, others a mentor, and some want new jobs. An event app takes the guesswork out so people network with intent.

It’s not just your attendees who want to network. Many speakers do, too. An event app brings attendees and speakers closer together, especially through live Q&As.

The key is to get in sync beforehand. The host could give the speaker a heads-up that attendees will submit live questions through Slido. And of course, have some pre-loaded questions just in case, or have the host moderate the questions.

Use gamification wisely

When done right, gamification goes a long way. It taps into attendees’ competitive side. Use Live Display to push content from the app to screens around the venue. Leaderboards, for instance, make gamification even more of a shared experience.

But you can use it for much more than that. Creative planners can reward attendees for things like visiting exhibitor booths to get special codes. Even participating in a live poll can be rewarded.

Yarkin Sakucoglu is CEO and co-founder of Socio, an event management platform that helps enterprises, member-based organizations, and third-party planners optimize their events for authentic connections and personalized experiences.

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