How to Encourage Networking At Your Event

How to Encourage Networking At Your Event

You’ve worked incredibly hard to put together a great conference. You’ve got a solid slate of speakers. You’ve got evening, morning, and even off-site entertainment. You’ve organized a vendor hall, after parties and some fantastic alternative programming for people who need a break from the scheduled activities. You’re pretty sure that everybody is going to take home some awesome memoriesif you can get them to talk to each other.

It’s true that, often at conferences and conventions, people attend in pairs or small groups. There are a lot of reasons for thiseverybody likes having an event buddy, especially if it is their first time attending an event of this nature. Even so, you know that part of the fun and benefit of events like this is networking and meeting new people. So how do you encourage people to do that?

MeetUps

One of the best ways to get people to spend time together and, hopefully, forge new relationships, is to host a series of smaller meet ups both leading up to and during the event itself. Advance meetups will help locals get to know each other and forge bonds before the event begins. Small meetups during the event allow people who might not feel comfortable networking on a large scale network on a small scale with people they know are already interested in the same ideas as themselves. You can arrange meetups based on occupation, interest, alumni/newbie attendance, etc.

Use the Internet

The XOXO Festival in Portland, Oregon is one of the premiere festivals of its type (purposefully small scale and community oriented events meant to connect industry insiders with hopeful joiners). This year they set up an event based Slack Network to help people “meet” and talk before the event itself. This proved to be so successful that they kept the Slack Network going after the event. You can set this up yourself through community bulletin board systems, blogs, social media groups, etc. Encourage people to hang out online before meeting. It will help break the ice before they are face to face and will foster bonding and networking for after the event as well.

Apps Are Your Friends

These days, you can create an app for everythingeven events and conferences. Setting up your own mobile event app will help attendees find each other and coordinate during your event. They are also helpful for connecting attendees with speakers, event organizers and getting feedback on the event in real time. Most importantly, it gives those who are introverted the opportunity to socialize through a medium they find comfortable. Not everybody is okay walking up to someone and starting a conversation. The shy among you will need a method of communication that works for them.

Forego Ice Breakers

Seriously. Nobody them. Even at meetups and in-conference group sessions; create a no-ice breakers policy. Your attendees will love you for it.

Harassment Policy

Finally, make sure you have an iron-clad anti-harassent policy in place. We all want to think of the events we create as absolutely safe places and even though we work hard to make that a reality, sometimes bad things happen. Having a zero tolerance policy and a robust reporting and reaction system in place will go a long way toward creating an event that truly is a safe place for everyone who attends. It is also a good idea to have a photo policy in place. For example, at many Comic Cons, there are very strict rules against photographing others without obtaining consent. Make sure this language is included in your harassment policy.

It takes a lot of work to create a space in which people will want to interact and network with each other. Hopefully these tips will help you do exactly that at your next conference or convention.

6 tips for entrepreneurs networking for introverts

Business Networking

Is it possible to get a good network being an introvert? You just have to step in and out of the comfort zone.

You know thats your best chance. Contacts are some key in the world of entrepreneurship and startups, should cultivate you already have (you never know whos going to know who) and, worst and most importantly, to extend the network. Make networking, this beloved and natural for extroverts and feared for any introvert. A room full of people you hardly know anyone. Having to take the plunge and start a conversation with a stranger. Already sweating?

We have good news to network is much easier than it looks, even for those who do not have that natural facility to expand our circle of contacts only enter a room. You just have to adapt the activity-try our personality be what it is not will you end up exhausted and possibly more nervous and accept that out of our comfort zone from time to time is positive. Here are 6 tips for introverts networking entrepreneurs:

1. Plan the event. If the opportunity for networking is predictable (usually are), in some kind of industry event, try to plan it. Look whos going to be, who may go to go and who might be interested in talking. Think now about how to break the ice, the way to approach that person. If you are reporting on it before it will be easier to know roughly what to expect from her.

2. Give your ears. Most introverts are observant and good when people listen to other people. Take advantage of this quality when it comes time to network: note that many people love to talk about herself and showing interest in what they do and ask them questions. Just make sure to also share something about yourself, if you do not look like youre doing an interrogation.

3. Focus on quality, not quantity. well you know youre not going to get to the event and be the life of the party, talking to everyone. Think also that the goal is not: it is much better to have a couple of deeper conversations with people that really interest you (for themselves or the people they know) that 20 exchanges of cards never pass a superficial relationship.

4. deepens. centrate Besides having interesting conversations with fewer people, make sure that these new contacts that you worked hard you do not go away. Contact them soon after: email, social networks, etc. Propose a meeting even if you came to talk about something serious business.

5. Be in the online world and probably be good at it: in person will cost more, especially if youre busy, but everything you find on the Internet easier. Take advantage: communities of people entering the sector, interacting on Twitter, etc. You will create relationships that you can be useful in the future, and also pave the way for a less awkward encounter when you may have to see you in person.

6. Go slowly. s very important to be realistic and accept each small step forward as a triumph. Do not compare extraverts leaving an event with hundreds of cards and promises meetings but yourself. Note that you are following a long-term strategy, which will end in much stronger relationships.