Events are a way to bring people together and provide a common space for interaction and sharing. People attend events to discover like-minded professionals and make valuable connections. At least, this is the ideal script.
However, networking has started to gradually reveal its complexity. Why do people have a hard time connecting with others at events? And most importantly, why is it so difficult to plan a truly meaningful and valuable networking dynamic?
Networking tends to happen during coffee breaks at events. No matter what the networking interests are, your attendees must take the first step, which is approaching another person and introducing oneself.
So, what's wrong with networking at events?
Two things: First of all, planners often ignore the psychology of attendees, expecting they will transform the networking expereience into a valuable exchange by themselves. Secondly, planners often do not pay close attention to networking design, which can ensure truly valuable outcomes.
From uncertainty to building connections that matter
Help your attendees prepare in advance. By giving them access to the guest list, they can choose with whom they want to networking during the event. This will allow them to prepare themselves ahead of times and be more confident about the interactions and outcomes.
Determine a structure and clear purpose. When everyone has a clear agenda (with time blocks and the names of people they want to interact with), the uncertainty level decreases drastically.
Provide a professional environment. Think about providing a networking zone with the sole purpose of this special space being to interact with other attendees. This will set the tone for building connections and eliminating the awkwardness of informal networking spaces.
Find prospects that matter. Nobody wants to attend an event that has nothing to offer in terms of networking, which is why qualifying your guests is a must. You can do that by analyzing the answers the guests submitted through the networking forms and vetoing people who do not meet the criteria.
When planning your next event, think about networking as a highly uncertain experience. Plan it toward eliminating the unpredictable factors and ensure a safe environment for interaction.
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