Networking activities for large groups?

eventplanning
london

(Melissa Tranter) #1

Hello everyone,

Does anyone have any ideas for activities for a networking evening for about 100 people. Something that is fun for people to partake in but that can also be secondary to networking and ‘mingling’.

I have a budget of up to £5000 so not the biggest but definitely not impossible (I hope haha!)

We do have conference rooms here that can open up to keep costs down if there are some mobile companies, but they aren’t the biggest or most flexible.

I have been researching all day and now have Google eyes so fresh minds would be invaluable at this point!

Many thanks to anyone who responds!

Melissa


(Claire Dibben) #2

Hi Melissa,

I was looking the other day for an office outing (14 people, not 100) but how about… cocktail masterclasses? We also looked at Locked In A Room (http://lockedinaroom.co.uk/bristol/) there might be something similar near you. Chocolate making masterclass? Or something like this? https://www.gotoevents.co.uk/starburst/

Sorry if not much help!

Claire


(Richard Millington) #3

I hosted a cocktail masterclass at one of my events, I’d say be careful about it.

It wasn’t as sociable as I’d hoped it would be. The teacher was taking up too much of the show. Not saying it’s a bad idea, but I’d try to design it a lot better next time around.

I’ve seen events do everything from fashion makeovers, penthouse apartment viewings, training in new skills etc…would love to hear what others here have done, especially the @Insiders group.


(Richard Heathcote) #4

Oh it certainly can be done, even on no budget!

We held an evening cocktail do with about 75 attendees at a Be At One venue in Birmingham. It helped of course that we knew the manager anyway, but they hosted us for free, had Eventbrite tickets but they were also free - everyone just paid for their own drinks.
They were happy to do it as we provided the crowd, and with everyone drinking it obviously helped them in wet sales.
(And we made sure we timed it so we knew that the day we picked/agreed upon with them was normally a much quieter day for them, so they were glad of us being there).

But they did also do a cocktail making masterclass for small groups at a time that wanted to, so nothing overly/formally organised, but it was a bit of extra value that was included as part of the event.

The key is just having an accommodating venue that are looking for a big crowd of people to put money over the bar…


(Belinda Booker) #5

How about something involving food, like wine and chocolate pairing? Those sort of things are usually always popular and can involve fairly large numbers. Equally, people can confer on the tasting notes assisting the networking side of things. Perhaps gameify it and have a chocolate hamper for the winner?


(Melissa Tranter) #6

Hi Belinda, I’ve been thinking about something food related, we did sushi making last year. My main problem is the group size, so many places only do workshops for smaller places. Do you know of any wine tasting companies (or similar) that I could reach out to?


(Belinda Booker) #7

I’ve heard of these guys:
http://www.southlondonwineschool.com/content.php?pagetitle=Corporate+Events


(Melissa Tranter) #8

Brilliant thank you, I had ironically just found them on Google at the same time I got your message!


(Joe Atkinson) #9

If you have the space (e.g. your conference room), a short 10-15 minute networking exercise that could form a small part of your evening is a geographic mapping thing…

You stand at the middle of the conference room (chairs need to be out of the way!) and say something along the lines of "OK we’re going to try to make a map of where we’re all from… where I’m standing is where the venue is.

If you’re from North of here, go and stand up there, in front of me. if you’re from south of here, go stand behind me, from East of here, go stand to my right, and from the west, go over to my left".

Then let chaos ensue for a bit as people try to find where they live in relation to other attendees, until you have lots of small groups chatting away with people from - hopefully - somewhere near where they live.

Keep an eye out for anybody standing on their own because they’re from Greenland or somewhere, and shepherd them to the nearest group.

You can use it as an ice-breaker that isn’t excruciating for participants, gets them into small groups, and potentially enables them to go away with useful contacts that are local to them…

You could follow it up with a speed dating thing where you get everyone into two parallel lines facing each other and give them 30 seconds each to give the answers to 3 questions (you choose what they are) to the person facing them. After they’ve both spoken, everyone shuffles up and one of the people at the ends swaps sides, so the whole thing essentially rotates.

This way people get introduced to everyone else without any awkward silences or smalltalk, or people boring each other. Could take a while with 100 people though.

Once you’ve done all that you could do anything - a ceilidh is often good to get people loosened up and meeting lots of other people by dancing with them. Can be a bit intense for folks who hate dancing or are introverts etc. though.


Imaginative Conference Ideas