Every large meeting and conference has a networking element to it; in which most attendees either love or hate. Most extroverted participants look forward to the networking element especially if they have come to the event multiple times. However, what about the first-time or introverted attendee? How can event meeting services organizations convince them to network?
Here are 3 tips that can help you sell attendees on the benefits of networking and subtle ways you can make it very easy and interesting to them. Share with your attendees the following information before your event starts and see what happens!
Networking Nugget # 1: Plan on attending all the networking functions — even if you don't want to.
During the course of a large conference, you will probably have at least 7 or 8 times to network, whether it be at each meal, a reception or a Tweet Up. Take advantage of each and every function and make it a point to meet at least 2 or 3 new individuals at each function. Look at it from a Return on Investment standpoint:
If you meet 35 new people at your next conference and that leads to 3 new prospects of which you close 1 person for new business, it was worth it! You already paid for the conference and dedicated the time so you might as well meet as many people as you can while you are captive at the meeting. In addition, if that one new person you just closed, brings you $100,000 of business — that more than paid for your meeting costs and your time.
The emails from the home office can wait. Go to the networking meeting, even if you don't want to.
Networking Nugget # 2: Perfect the Art of Small Talk.
Read national and local newspapers before you go to the networking gig. Watch the news while you are getting ready in the morning or retiring for evening. Read your Twitter feed. Google the speakers for the day. All of these things will help you hone your small talk skills.
Note to Event Organizers: You can help attendees with this effort by negotiating with the hotel to deliver a newspaper to every attendees room during the length of your conference. Invest in Video Wall rentals to display conference tweets, speaker bios and video feeds. Place interesting trivia questions on the wall, so attendees will gather around it and ignite a conversation. During breaks, display conversation starters on the PowerPoint presentation equipment.
Networking Nugget # 3: Show up early and stay late.
Even though it might be against your nature, go to the networking event 10-15 minutes early and stay 10-15 minutes after the event closes down. If you come early, you can volunteer to help the meeting staff and often there is something to do. If you stay late, you may have the opportunity to extend the conversation with someone you have been trying to spend some time with for the entire conference.
Note to Event Organizers: Give early arrivals tasks to make the event even more engaging. Have them help register attendees, pass out nametags, or act as mentors — especially if they know a lot of individuals at the conference. Individuals that linger late can help with the clean-up or get speakers to their next location.
AV Event Solutions, a California conference services supplier, wants to help you with your next event! They have video wall rentals, presentation services equipment, and iPads to help attendees make networking easy and innovative! Contact them today for more information as to how they can help you!