Pro tips to host intimate networking events at conferences

 Thursday, September 15, 2022 

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Several businesses have begun to conduct secure in-person conferences since the onset of the global pandemic, which means private after-hours networking gatherings are now a factor. To some extent, keeping things more intimate can be beneficial, allowing for deeper conversations and more meaningful connections. However, strong, deliberate execution is essential for making the most of these new-normal networking events. Travel And Tour World suggests how to meet-and-greet to make networking connections more meaningful.

Making the most of outdoor space
Small salon-style events, in which a seminar with a limited audience encourages communal conversation on a meaty topic, are becoming more popular than larger gatherings with less focus. An outdoor event is better than the original indoor plan because it allows us to take advantage of the beautiful natural weather and setting that the location has to offer. Of course, the weather isn’t always cooperative outside, so be prepared. There are obviously a variety of temporary, open structures, such as tents, that can help mitigate the effects of bad weather. If necessary, you could also distribute a large number of umbrellas and provide your clients with a unique, intimate meeting experience. It is also recommended that the organisers have plans in place to keep electrical equipment safe and dry, as well as a proper floor setting.

Maintain the food on the menu
According to Lynette Moore, director of Quorum, providing a meal always fosters a sense of community and helps people to talk. Boxed meals have become a staple of pandemic gatherings, whether professional or personal, and Moore continues to recommend them. This allows guests to take their own meal, sit down, and use utensils that they have only touched, she says. It allows them to select their own food and is always a nice gesture to encourage closeness and break the ice.

Create a budget that is responsible
Regardless of the size of the networking event, it is critical to develop and adhere to an event budget. A budget prevents overspending and aids the host in making decisions. Once you know how much you can and want to spend, you can decide whether to self-fund the event, charge admission, or seek outside sponsorship. Don’t be afraid to charge a reasonable ticket price for your event. Many people are willing to pay to spend time with other people who share their interests. Putting a monetary value on an event encourages people to think more highly of it. It also allows you to host a nicer event.

Cast targeted promotions
Casting a wide advertising net does not work well when trying to reach a specific group of people. You’ll need to use marketing techniques that target the right people. Visit Facebook or LinkedIn groups related to the niche of the event. Inform them that you are planning an event and are looking for feedback and attendees. Facebook advertising is a fantastic tool because you can target your ads based on the recipient’s job and interests. Purchase Google ads for terms people use to search for networking opportunities or communities in your event’s niche. It may be time-consuming, but sending cold emails is sometimes the best way to find attendees for your networking event. Find relevant businesses and ask them to post about your event on their website.

Set up secure seating
You’ll need to strike a balance between safety and the need for conversation and connections that add value to the event. It’s not enough to have people stand at opposite ends of an indoor or outdoor venue. While health and safety are top priorities, Amanda Stone, CEO of A&M Agency, a marketing, events, and project management firm based in Nashville, notes that conversations could take place virtually if the in-person environment doesn’t add value to an experience. And if guests want to rest their feet, it’s possible to provide them with a safer option. Stone adds that arranging seating in a round, rectangular, or U-shaped pattern allows for eye contact.

Respect individual preferences
Everyone’s level of comfort is different right now. For some, simply attending an in-person event is a big step. It is beneficial to use colour-coded bracelets so that attendees do not have to explain their engagement and distancing preferences. Red, for example, means keep your distance. Yellow indicates that a first bump is acceptable, while green indicates that handshakes and hugs are welcomed. They can also wear their preference on a lanyard, and hosts should incorporate it into signs and a script so that everyone understands how to respect preferences.

Keep it brief and simple
Typical after-hours events frequently lasted late into the night, with attendees continuing the discussion in hotel lobbies and bars. But these days, it’s best to keep things short and sweet. According to experts, one hour is sufficient to spread out the attendees. They advocate for a more organised flow in which people know where to go next so they don’t have to mix and mingle, which they may not be comfortable doing.

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