Why do people attend your events? For entertainment? Education? Or networking? In the statistics roundup by Event Manager Blog, the majority of respondents named networking as their primary goal for attending events. Thus, organizing networking opportunities for your attendees is crucial for the success of your events.
Singling out several coffee breaks between the keynote speeches, however, is not enough. Attendees often don’t know each other enough or at all to utilize this time to its fullest. Networking during an event should be organized as a separate activity. This is especially true for big events where several corporations take part as networking during such events brings enormous business opportunities.
To prepare networking opportunities for the attendees, you can employ technology at the pre-event, main-event, and post-event stages of event organization. Let’s dive in.
1. Pre Event Stage
At the pre event stage of event organization, it is important to set the foundations for networking. When looking through the event information, attendees are often interested in receiving information about other participants besides the speakers.
The best way to arrange this is to build an event community using an event-planning system that allows you to:
- Reach out with personalized emails. First, you would need to bring the community of your upcoming events together. Whenever a person shows interest in your event, you can start sending out personalized emails, inviting people to join the event community.
- Set up event community on your website. Single out a separate space for event participants to communicate. This is where they can make preliminary introductions and receive information about other attendees and their profiles.
- Integrate social media. Allow your attendees to have access to your event via social media, where they can also get information about other attendees and view their profiles.
When creating an event plan with an event-planning system, make sure that all event information can be accessed through different channels. In particular, the event planning system allows you to create an Event App with a networking community feature. Having this option at hand will allow the participants to better prepare for the event in terms of networking and finding the contacts they need.
2. Main Event Stage
During the main event stage of event organization, your task is to make the networking experience as seamless as possible. If you host a big B2B event with thousands of participants, you need to make sure that they can easily find each other.
You can create this seamless networking experience with an event planning app, which offers the following features both to the event organizers and the attendees:
- Digital badges. When an attendee arrives, they automatically receive a digital badge upon registration. This allows other participants to see that a particular attendee has arrived, and the beacon technology that the event planning app uses helps the attendees easily locate each other.
- Networking hubs map. When planning your event, creating a space for networking hubs (coffee tables, couches, etc.) is a must. You can upgrade this experience by creating a map of networking hubs to help attendees find each other.
- Live audience polling. This feature encourages all attendees to interact with speakers during their keynote speeches. Live responses are submitted via an event-planning event and can be exchanged among the speaker and all attendees, present in the conference hall.
The last feature, mentioned above, helps significantly boost the engagement of the attendees. “Our survey has indicated that 89% of event attendees don’t get a chance to ask a question or interact with a speaker during or after their speech”, says Martin Paulet, a researcher at Flatfy. Having a live audience polling is a great networking opportunity that allows you to make sure that all participants are active.
3. Post Event Stage
At the post event stage of event organization, your task is to make the connections made during your event last.
Working with an event planning system allows you to not only maintain the communication with attendees, alerting them about other upcoming events but also help the attendees maintain communication among themselves.
You can do it by setting a secured social media space for all the attendees, where they can share photos as well as their feedback regarding the event. Using this social media space, they can remain in touch with each other, and you fulfill your task of organizing a networking opportunity after the event has ended.
The best way to create a seamless networking experience during an event is to implement technological solutions.
Especially when the event is big and the number of participants exceeds several hundred, you need the best planning tools to organize networking opportunities and make sure that all participants remain satisfied.
Applying an event planning system to all stages of event organization will help you create a great networking opportunity for all the event attendees, encouraging them to build strong business connections.
Author: Ryan Pell
EventsAir has been at the forefront of Event Technology and Innovation for over 30 years, continually pushing the boundaries of what an event management platform can do. Built by event planners for event planners, EventsAir is a secure, scalable, cloud-based solution that can manage everything from in-person, virtual to hybrid conferences, meetings and events in a single online platform – anywhere, anytime and on any device. In use in over 50 countries by multi-national corporations, professional conference organizers, government departments and tertiary education institutions, EventsAir is also used in global congresses such as G20, APEC, CHOGM and ASEAN, as well as sporting events like The Olympic Games, World Rugby, Commonwealth Games and Pan Am Games. EventsAir is trusted by event professionals around the globe. For further information, visit www.eventsair.com