While your meeting may be a great place to learn, your attendees aren’t just looking for education. The vast majority of participants at any type of conference or trade show are all looking for new connections and new potential business partners, too.
As attendees consider whether or not to register for your meeting, show them that their dollars will translate to more names and phone numbers in their address books. If you’re designing the plans for your next big meeting, consider these five tips to make it a better place to network.
Networking doesn’t have to wait until check-in.
Rather than hoping that your attendees will all find who they’re looking for once they arrive on-site, give your attendees access to a full list of everyone who’s registered for your meeting through a closed community. That early access can give attendees the opportunity to send requests for one-on-one business discussions and ease the awkwardness of those first handshakes.
Networking can happen on a smaller scale, too.
Before you have a big celebration with all of your attendees, consider planning more intimate receptions that connect like-minded colleagues in settings that make networking feel less intimidating. Divide your registrants based on their roles and responsibilities or their history with your meeting. Similar interests can often help create conversations more easily.
It’s always nice to include an industry heavyweight in your network.
While your attendees want to meet their peers, they also will appreciate the chance to connect with well-known experts. Consider a meet and greet with some of the top names on your list of presenters at your next meeting.
Networking can be about more than just handing out business cards.
Rather than let attendees look for their own connections, you can help pair young attendees with veterans in a mentor program. Your most seasoned attendees can feel even more respected, and your new participants will enjoy the perspective of someone who knows the ins and outs of your meeting.
Help make those introductions more fun.
Maximize the real estate on your conference name badges by adding an interesting fact about each attendees below their names. For example, you might add each attendee’s favorite band or sports team. When they’re shaking hands and scanning badges, attendees can have one more potential icebreaker for their conversations.
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