Events and conferences aren’t just venues for you to learn the latest industry-specific trends and insights. The value of networking is just as important as attending sessions, and attendees often judge the success of a conference on whether they were able to meet and make valuable contacts. 

Here’s how to plan an event to encourage networking amongst your attendees:

Plan Networking Events the Right Way

Optimize your environment and attendee list before they enter your event space.

1. Allow For Online, Pre-Event Networking: Encouraging your attendees to connect with each other is a process that starts before event doors open. Online communities and social networks are ideal spaces for attendees to gather, connect and network in an informal manner prior to the event. 

2. Utilize Event Networking Apps to Enable Your Event: Event networking apps can be used to increase attendee engagement both before and after the event. Social media integration, badge scanning and matchmaking capabilities increase opportunities to network.

3. Event Space Layout: The environment of the event sets the tone for your guests to mingle. Set up venue space with enough room to encourage people flow, to conduct one-on-one meetings and to accommodate different communications needs.

4. Wear Name Badges: The badging process is part and parcel of most events, and wearing name badges allows guests to more easily identify and connect with colleagues. Bravura’s robust event registration software helps event managers invite, register and communicate with attendees, and offers touchless kiosk badge printing for attendees to check in to events. 

Maintain Attendee Interest

A full itinerary can help planners deliver an engaging event experience.

5. Plan to Pause: Scheduled breaks can offer attendees opportunities to network. Rather than hosting back-to-back sessions and panels, breaks can allow time for conversations so they can concentrate during the next discussion.

6. Keep Guests in the Event: Organizing a post-event meetup with refreshments is one way to encourage networking amongst attendees.

7. Group Activities Spur Interaction: Event organizers should encourage attendees to network during scheduled breaks by arranging activities, such as informal talks with industry experts and event speakers in smaller groups. Adding value and grouping similar attendees together creates additional opportunities to connect.

Promote Networking Skills

Skilled networking takes practice, and events will bring attendees at all levels of skill together. Organizers should be equipped to ensure all attendees can benefit equally from the event experience. 

8. Provide Ideas to New Attendees: New-to-event attendees may not have much networking experience. Sending resources around networking etiquette in advance of your event may help them feel more comfortable connecting with others at the event. Tips can include how to make introductions, dressing for the conference and tips to be a better listener. 

9. Get Creative: Encouraging socialization by offering branded photo opportunities and social competition is another way to facilitate networking at your event.

It can be a challenge to network. Make sure attendees make the most of their event experience by facilitating means for them to network during the conference.

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