The key to a successful networking experience is to design it specifically with your distinct audience in mind.
Event guests who make the effort to attend events in person in 2023 are looking for a focus on community and connection, with opportunities to network and learn collectively.
For an in-person, more than 100 pax events, facilitating small groups through a series of question prompts can work.
You can also try assigning guests into teams to solve a real problems. You’ll get to know your teammates’ strengths, points of view, and passion levels outside of roles like buyer and seller.
Create time to form meaningful conversations in a space that is cozy yet vibrant. Go with tons of soft seating for more comfortable networking.
Serve specialty coffee drinks, along with several flavors of biscotti and other sweet treats. Acoustic musicians and soft lighting can provide a beautiful ambiance while allowing participants to speak to one another without having to shout (a plus point for introverts).
MORE THAN JUST A PITCH
Too often, people come to network, give short elevator pitches, exchange business cards, and move on. Instead, ask everyone to pair up with someone they don’t already know and take a moment to add each other to LinkedIn during their introductions to one another.
Then, ask them to make groups of four, and get them to introduce their new connection to the new pair.
The 2014 PTTOW Summit encouraged conference attendees to sit with one another and answer some of life’s big questions. A spinning wheel positioned adjacent to a seating group offered a series of topics—like “hate,” “doubt,” and “purpose”—to break the ice and make the exercise more interesting. The coffee table positioned at the seating group offered a workbook that participants could open to find questions or activities to do together, and the event also offered “conversation cookies,” fortune cookies filled with even more conversation topics.
Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for PTTOW
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