I’ve scoured the forum to collate 10 of the best event networking tips ever shared. Vote for your favourite or, if you’ve got your own top tip, add it to the list!
.1. Networking bingo
As a charity we are always trying to think of ideas that are free to facilitate networking! At drinks receptions and exhibitions we have used ‘networking bingo’ cards. We fill a grid with random or topic related questions, which people have to ask ‘strangers’ to obtain their contact details and instigate conversation. If everyone in room is playing the game then networking and talking to people you don’t know, doesn’t seem so awkward. Our delegates have always found it quite fun!
.2. Personalised name badges
I’ve actually found that having sticky labels and asking people to make their own name badge once they’ve been ticked off the attendance list works really well! That way there’s no risk of mis-spelling if someone sends a colleague in their place they don’t have to go without a badge, and people can personalise them which can be quite a nice ice-breaker.
.3. Speed networking
We use ‘Speed Networking’ which is a more structured way of getting people to network. We set-up networking ‘stations’ and guests are given a card with 4 random stations on. When we start the activity, guests then have 5 minutes at each station to meet everyone else at their station before they move on. This means that the guests meet a fair few new people without the awkwardness of having to approach someone at random. (They can also move on quickly if they don’t need to talk to anyone in the group they are with)
.4. Shake your phone to shake hands
Socio Event App is a networking and guide app for events. It lets your attendees literally shake their phone to discover, network, and exchange info with fellow attendees. Not to mention there’s a chatroom system, social media wall. My attendees love the fun, and my sponsors love the traffic it brings to them.
.5. Catch the ball
The simplest ideas are sometimes the best - all you need is a soft ball/stress item to throw around.
Pick a poignant question “What has been the biggest challenge in your professional life so far?” “Give the three major highlights of the last year” and challenge the respondents to give an answer in no more than 30 seconds. Short, sharp and gets conversation flowing!
.6. Curios for conversation
I attended a cool cocktail party where they’d placed antique items / and random curious things around the room. Everyone was invited to guess what the item was, which year it was from and its auction price. It got everyone talking and laughing. Results were announced in the dinner - and everyone got to hear from the expert what the items actually were. Great fun.
.7. Colourful wearables
Social Wearables is a pendant that has a light based social game called Capture the Rainbow. Each attendee is given a pendant with one colour already activated. Players then locate attendees with other colours in the rainbow. When the pendants come into contact with each other, their colours are captured by both players. Players work their way around the room completing a rainbow, and to do so they must engage with each other. It’s been really successful at breaking people out of groups and encouraging them to mingle and start conversations.
.8. Snap happy spectacle challenge
.9. Find your colour match
One great idea to promote interaction with an unknown audience is to give everyone coloured cards on arrival. Maybe blue, red, green, etc. Then when it is time for lunch or a food break, you give the instruction that everyone should find their matching colour and go introduce themselves.
.10. Have a professional introducer