Networking is a vital part of professional advancement these days
It’s often one of the most important activities for delegates during a conference. Of course, not everyone’s comfortable with the idea of striking up a conversation in a room full of strangers, so it can be difficult to make meaningful connections.
By embedding opportunities for real conversation throughout the entire conference experience, you’ll help create a strong community feel and encourage genuine relationships. When strong communities are created, delegates return year after year to strengthen those bonds.
In this article, we’re sharing our top new ideas for networking that embed opportunities into every aspect of your conference, so it becomes effortless.
If you’re delivering a great conference, it stands to reason you’ll be attracting new delegates every year and they may be a little nervous about not knowing anyone. You can lessen that feeling with a pre-conference get-together for first-timers.
Keep the gatherings small, simple and intimate and structure them around common interests so it’s easier for participants to start conversations.
- A particular area of interest or speciality
- Parents attending the conference
- Those early in their career
- Those from the same town, city or region
Another great networking idea for those who’ve never attended your conference before is to match them with someone who has. Have them contact their ‘conference buddy’ before the event and set up a meeting so they’ve already got a friendly face on arrival.
Tag; You’re it!
An often overlooked opportunity for fostering increased conversation in large gatherings is the good old name tag. Every conference has them but many a seasoned speaker who has tried in vain to read a teeny tiny name on the badge of an approaching audience member will tell you that very few are well executed.
Everyone will be wearing one so why not take advantage of that by making sure they’re well designed and serve their purpose as a networking tool:
- Print first names in plain font, large enough to be easily read from several metres away
- To keep those big names visible, use name tag holders with two holes on top so when the lanyard’s threaded through, the tag won’t flip over