How To Create More Networking Opportunities at Events

Posted by Matt Milloway on Nov 17, 2015

Scanning the agenda of most events means finding a handful of networking events typically in the form of end-of-day dinners, breaks, and perhaps social functions bookending the main helping of sessions. Yet most event planners and organizers fall into the trap of scheduling these traditional social events and overlooking alternatives best suited for genuine networking. Consider alternate takes on networking and utilize a mobile event app in the process to ensure attendees are maximizing their time and efforts.

Alternative Activities

Consider the demographics and interests of the entire attendee base and plan activities urging people to interact with others while having a great time in the process. Many of AppBurst's clients are already on top of this idea with everything ranging from golf outings and scuba diving to Harley Davidson rides and tours specifically associated with the host city and exciting attractions. Other ideas include fitness events (e.g. yoga or a 5k run for charity) and excuses to turn back the clock to childhood for something like laser tag. Scheduling alternative activities get attendees more excited about the event while simultaneously creating a fun environment for more natural interactions and introductions. Activities planned the day before an event kicks off leads to introductions and an easier time making real networking headway when the important sessions begin. 

Meet-Up Groups

Meet-up groups are already popular in people’s personal networking lives and serve to bring together individuals with common interests—interests that might have nothing to do with the event itself, but still serve as a useful and fun networking tool before or in between standard sessions. From informal gatherings at a bar to allocating a room for people who share a certain interest enables attendees to share commonalities with others in an relatively informal setting. Other ideas include setting up regional meet-up groups so people can connect via their common city or state and most likely meet others who are right around the corner back home.

Utilize Social Media

How do event planners and organizers successfully spread the word about networking events? Utilize social media integration in a mobile event app. Already a resource for the event’s program agenda, speaker bios, and other important information, the integrated social media—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more—enable users to never leave the app to check out posts by the host and share networking events with colleagues. Create a specific hashtag associated with fun networking events and promote conversations directly in the app. Networking events (like all other sessions) may also be easily added to an attendees calendar, bookmarked in the app, and shared via email.

Communication Made Easy Via Mobile Apps

Work still remains once people are excited about the networking events and social media is utilized to bring people together. Make attendee and speaker directories available in the app to ensure users are able to connect with colleagues they meet out on the golf course or in a meet-up group. Searchable directories may be sorted by alphabetical order and categories and include a wide range of info like head shots, bios, related sessions, contact information, and the ability to email people directly in the app. Attendees are also able to bookmark individuals from the directory to a “My Favorites” area in the app and enable calendar reminders to catch a person’s presentation. For event planners and organizers naturally concerned about privacy of information, the directory may be password protected or locked behind a user authentication feature, ensuring only authorized attendees gain access to phone numbers, email addresses, and other personal information.  

For more information on improving networking opportunities at an event and to speak with an AppBurst representative about mobile event apps: