How to Optimize Networking at Your Next Conference or Meeting

Simple and So Easy– Increase Font Size Name Badges: You want your attendees name to be readable from a distance. And add an “Ask me about _____” space on the badge to turn it into an ice breaker.

Organizing Your Registration Lines in a Different Way:  Make them geographic, or by industry, depending upon the breakdown of your different groups. Then you have an instant reason for people to connect, and feel like they have something in common.

Serve Food Buffet Style:  You talk to people while standing in line, it may seem basic, but I often end up sitting next to the person I was in line with.

Encourage People to Take Photos of One Another: Make sure that they include the   name badge in their photos. A great way of instantly telling your Facebook friends where you are and who you are meeting. Also, a terrific way for the attendees to create a networking conference album for their future reference.

Make Sure That You Offer “Open Topic” Discussions at Each Table: Your attendees start to zone out after a couple of hours of being talked at. It is essential that you give them time to engage and interact with on another, and move around a bit. A good time for an “Open Topic” discussion is after lunch, when energy is a bit low. Attendees can decide upon topics, and then flock to the table where discussion is being held.

Give People Something to Look at and to Talk About During Mixers and Receptions:  Put together a photo gallery, to display during receptions. Large photos of organization members and activities can help people circulate and engage during a reception or mixer.

Have Experts and Seasoned Professionals Host Tables: At your first meal function, add an expert to each table (maybe one of your organization’s Board of Directors members) so your attendees can get connected to someone who really knows the ins and outs of your organization and profession.

Turn the Participant Directory into a True Networking Tool: Add two fields on the registration form and then publish them in the directory: (1) “Topics I want to learn more about”, and (2) “Topics I could be a resource on for others”.

Your attendees are spending precious time and money to go to your event. They want to meet peers and make connections and be inspired, so it is essential that you ensure that your attendees maximize their time by giving them lots of information, leads and ideas to take back to their office and share with their staff.


Have a great event!

Ariel O’Donnell