Networking events can be both fun and confusing at times. While people love socializing and meeting new people, interacting with industry professionals can be awkward at times, especially if there’s not enough time to establish a real connection, or the venue is not appropriate.
So, let’s go over networking event ideas that appeal to attendees.
Help your attendees to mix and mingle by guiding them, maybe through fun networking event ideas. Smaller sessions could also help, because they make things more intimate and encourage interactions.
PS: If you need more event networking ideas, why not bookmark our blog and join other event professionals in the discussion?
First off, you need to get people to your networking event. You should:
Free networking events get a lot of flakers, with a lot of people assuring attendance and then dropping out at the last minute. Since they’re not “investing” in joining the event, they either easily forget about it or they never fully commit. However, you can always attract more people to come to your event by offering things that they’ll love. For instance, give away something valuable they’ll be able to take home, a simple giveaway goes a long way. You could also ask your potential attendees to pay some sort of “attendance deposit”, which will be refunded when their registration is confirmed. While both of these strategies may take a bit more work, boosting your audience turnout would be easy as pie.
One of the networking event ideas we love is the check-in process. You see, check-in can easily become one of the most confusing parts of an event, particularly for first-time attendees. If you don’t have clear indicators, they’ll have trouble understanding where to go and will probably get lost in the sea of people. Therefore, it’s important to eliminate all possible check-in pain points, like long lines at registration and the lack of direction about how the whole process will go. Try to incorporate some of the newer and interactive check-in methods that are out there!
Networking Event Ideas That Are Fun for Attendees
Now the fun part. Events are more exciting when your networking event ideas are making people have a good time, and they’re learning while forming new bonds. There are so many strategies you can use to promote your networking event. For example, you can build an online community related to your event. Encourage your followers to share your event out on social media and engage in personal conversations online about your upcoming event. You can even sweeten the pot a little more by incentivizing networking and interaction!
TMI Name Tags
One of our favorite and somewhat different networking event ideas is to have attendees insert too much information (TMI) on their name tags. Instead of just writing their names, have attendees include information that is not typically seen on a name tag. They can write what their marital status us, the favorite car, the name of their first pet, or just about anything that would spark quite an interesting conversation.
This type of Bingo entails creating BINGO cards that contain general facts that would apply to a number of people. (Ex: is over 6 ft. tall, has been out of the country, served in the military, can play an instrument, etc.) Each BINGO square card will have a fun fact and a blank line.
Everyone will get a card and a pen and then circles around the room looking for an individual to sign their name on one of the squares. Their signature will act as the “chip.” Once a person gets a BINGO (signatures that fill an entire row, or the whole card–it’s up to you to decide) they can hand in their card to get a prize!
Two Truths and a Lie
The best way to play this game is at a round table or in small groups of 12 people or less. Each individual will share two true facts and one lie about themselves. Everyone will have fun guessing which statement the lie is.
The people who end up stumping everyone in the group will be the ones you challenge to then come up with 3 more things and then you’ll see how long they can keep the crowd guessing!
Scavenger hunts are excellent for team building skills and can be done in several ways. Split your group up into teams, scatter the clues, and then see who can collect all of the clues first.
Or, you can do a photo scavenger hunt where you’ll give your team a list of pictures they must take. Some ideas would be: take a picture of something big, shoot a picture of your team underneath something, capture something yellow, find something that starts with the letter “E”, snap a shot of your whole team with an animal. Seriously, the possibilities are endless!
Candy bar Meet Up
Here’s one of our more delicious networking event ideas where you divide a large group into smaller groups at random. Upon entering your meeting space, each person will be given a candy bar. (Make sure they know not to eat it yet!). You can have them either pull it out of a bag without looking, or you can have someone on staff hand it to them.
At some point during your networking event, ask everyone to find their equivalent candy bars. Later on, ask all the Snickers bar holders to group together, all the Milky Ways, etc. Once all of the groups are formed, continue with a game or icebreaker to help these event pros get to know each other.
The End Result
Hopefully you can envision some of these networking event ideas working well for you. If you include networking event games, icebreakers, and some team building exercises in your gathering the end result will be attendees who leave feeling encouraged and connected. Have fun!
There’s no better place to learn about networking event ideas than The Event Planner Expo where you’ll not only get to hear from keynote speakers that will help you grow your brand, but where you’ll connect with other event professionals.
Contact us today to find out about more about upcoming events industry networking events!