Ways To Run A Speed Networking Event At Your Next Conference

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Ways To Run A Speed Networking Event At Your Next Conference

30 Oct 2020

Speed network, Professional networking, Networking is important, Business network

Some people are not huge fans of hosted speed networking events. However, they don’t mind having speed networking concepts integrated into corporate conference activities. No matter how many times you have shaken hands at conferences, approaching strangers might still be a bit uneasy. 

When you incorporate speed networking into a conference program, this barrier is broken and your attendees get to meet more people in a short period of time. If done right, speed networking can be a lot beneficial and can enhance the value of your conference. 

There are different formats for professional networking at conferences. Thus, to find the best format for your event, you need first peek at your conference through the lens of your attendees. 

Will the concept of speed network be an encouragement for masses to register for your event? Which connections are the most relevant for your attendees? And, are the expert speakers and panellists the right choice to pull in more crowds?

Without further ado, we present:

The Three Ways To Incorporate A Speed Networking Event Into Your Next Conference

  1. Attendees Speed Network Workshop Style with Experts and Speakers in a Group Focusing on a Pre-Selected Topic

By adopting this style, you are providing the attendees with a chance to business network and interact with experts and fellow attendees simultaneously. Basically, the attendees and experts are divided into groups and assigned a topic, allowing them to share experiences and knowledge. 

If you wish to try this method of speed networking at your next conference event, here are a few things you should get right.

Before The Event:

  • Have the attendees choose three topics of interest when they register.

  • Go ahead and pick three (or more) topical experts.

  • Ask your event staff to assign time-slots and tables for every attendee.

  • Before the event begins, let attendees know of the speed networking rules.

During The Event:

  • Have each of the topical expert sit at a table surrounded by up to 10 attendees. 

  • Let the expert give a brief introduction.

  • Allow each attendee to introduce themselves in just one minute and let their group know the specifics they would like to discuss.

  • The expert then offers brief replies in around a minute or two.

  • Remember, follow-up opportunities should be talked about at this moment.

  • Allow three minutes for each attendee to then talk about the topic (If there are 10 attendees in a group, a 30-minute round would be enough).

  • Finally, let the attendees shift to the next table!

As this type of speed networking involves a fairly large amount of interaction, it is best to practice it at larger conferences. Furthermore, ensure that you hold this workshop-style speed networking either mid-way or towards the end of the event. This helps attendees discuss about the things they have heard about during the conference. 

  1. Attendees Speed Network Individually Focusing on the Speaker’s Topic

If you have learnt that your attendees would prefer one-on-one attention from experts, then allowing them to speed network on an individual basis will be the best option. Though this chance might decrease the chance of attendees getting to meet one another, it enables the attendees to talk about matters in private and strike individual relationships. Additionally, unlike the group setting, this method aids the attendees to meet more experts.

In order to execute this type of speed networking at your next conference, here is what you should do.

Before The Event:

  • Let your attendees in on more background information about each speaker’s expertise.

  • Then, ask your attendees to pre-select around six experts they would like to speed network with.

  • Work on setting time-slots, and tables for each attendee.

  • Also, provide each expert with a station where the attendees will have to rotate.

  • If you are going for a room setting, opt for the classroom style with a row of chairs facing each other.

  • Make sure you leave enough space to either side of the chairs so that the attendees and experts will have no issue conversing amidst the loud noise level.

  • If you find the space is scarce, you can set up two chairs on either side of a coffee table.

The attendees will feel more at ease when they get to discuss the projects with expert speakers. Even better, it is an excellent tool to have you attendees stick to the latter part of the conference event. 

  1. Attendees Speed Network Among Themselves

The most common form of speed networking, here, attendees get a chance to strike one-on-one potential partnerships or business relationships with individuals. What's more, it is an excellent way to generate business leads as well.

Follow the below-given steps to get this style of networking right.

Before The Event:

  • Publish a registration list with name, organization, and field of interest to help attendees with a sneak preview.

  • Allow individuals to choose one time slot from the list of time slots offered during registration.

  • Convey the time and location of the session to your attendees.

  • If there are over 120 attendees, make sure you set up separate spaces to conduct parallel speed networking sessions.

  • You can have each room set up to focus on a specific topic.

During The Event:

  • You can choose to do the networking in round robins style, where one group of attendees remain immobile, as the other group of attendees keep moving clockwise.

  • At the end of one cycle, have the mobile attendees switch to the other room so they get a chance to interact with each other as well. 

This setting is super ideal for small conferences unless there is a particular topic is chosen for discussion. Rather than putting this style of speed networking towards the very end, schedule it at the beginning of your conference. It will help your attendees with a chance to get to know each other and leave them enough time to follow-up later during breaks.

Now, Let’s Make Your Conference More Engaging

If not orchestrated well, speed networking can be nothing but a chaotic experience. However, here are our top picks to make your speed networking incorporated conference more engaging.

  • Let the attendees and table hosts know of the rules ahead of time. Ensure that you remind them again-on site to avoid mishaps.

  • Assemble enough staff to support rotations. A little bit of support is always required! 

  • If you find time running out as the session progress, have the moderator enforce the schedule with a buzzer.

  • Choose a setup that gives room for further discussions over a coffee, during the breaks or the evening reception. 

Once you get all these right, sit back and wait for your speed networking attendees to thank you for organizing such an inspiring event.

The Time Is Now To Create Better Speed Networking Conferences!

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