Gray's Journal

Friday, May 24, 2013

Networking For Meeting Attendees

Many companies are bigger than we think. There's no way all of the employees know each other or have even met. We all know that one of the big reasons to hold meetings or corporate retreats is to bring employees together and figure out ways to better the company through teamwork. They want to find people with shared interests to do business with and they want to home in on the people who will be the most helpful for them in their endeavors. But, especially at larger meetings, people find networking to be uncomfortable, overwhelming and downright ineffective. Here are a few things you can do as their event planner to make the experience more fun.
Name badges with a twist
Instead of first and last name, find some ways to give the name badges more dimension. Try color coding by interest or specialty (and remember to give your attendees the key!) or ask your attendees to list their three favorite things. Have them say "Ask me about...". It's a great way to get the conversation started and help your attendees figure out who might be a good fit for them.
There's an app for that...
There are some pretty cool networking apps out there that allow your attendees to check in at your event and find a list of all the other people who are there, along with their social networks.
Bump: Bump isn't only used for swapping info with the mystery gentleman at the bar. Feel free to bump contacts at networking events and even in the workplace. Who's to say that fleeting connections won't materialize into bigger and better prospects down the line?
WhosHere: It's time to meet your match. Find other people in your proximity who also use the service and talk to them! It's as simple as that. You can also review the profiles of those nearest to you and hold out on an introduction until you find a subject with similar interests. Great for down-time at conferences. 
Take your shoes off and relax (but not in the meeting, of course!)
So often, we're focused on great event content, but we forget about down time. Down time is really important - not only for our brains, but for connecting with our fellow event attendees. What we'd love to see is more time left to be created by your attendees - time for them to create content, share ideas and network. You will find that your attendees see this as some of the most valuable time they have.

Networking can play a huge role in the success of your corporate life. Whether attending a meeting with 75 different companies involved, or your own company's meeting where you just may not know anyone, networking builds relationships and a strong foundation for teamwork.

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