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Event Networking Ideas that Work

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By: The Team at Kalahari | Mar 27, 2019

Would it surprise you to learn that 84% of attendees come to events for networking? Why? Because even the smallest meeting is the best place to find new leads, clients and prospects.

Yet, the thought of approaching random strangers can be nerve-wracking, especially for work-from-home or introverted employees.  However, there is good news. Outlined below are creative solutions that can be fun, engaging and most importantly, allow the shyest attendee to walk away with new connections.

THREE Networking Ideas:

Targeted Roundtables

Set up square or round tables that seat four or eight people. Divide people into tables based on a commonality. For example, if you choose number of years attendees have been coming to conference, you’d have multiple tables with the following: First-timer, one-three years, four to seven years, eight or more years.
You could also group people by:

  • Job titles
  • Geographic areas (East Coast, West Coast or specific states)
  • Size of company: solopreneur, small company, mid-sized or enterprise organization

Let attendees learn about each other and share without any additional structure.

Question Ball
Develop a series of questions written on multiple beach balls. Divide up into groups in a circular formation. Toss one ball into each group and ask the person who catches it to answer the question their right index hand is touching. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Why are you here?
  • What is your job title?
  • What company do you work for?
  • What’s the biggest work challenge you have?
  • Which session are you most excited about?
  • What’s your favorite place to travel?
  • What’s the last movie you saw?

Once answered, they throw the ball to someone else. 

M&M Challenge
When individuals sit down at their tables, each place setting will have a small container of M&Ms. The emcee will ask each person to sort them by colors on their place setting, but not eat them. Once completed, everyone goes around the table and shares the following based on the colors on their plate:

  • Red: Most embarrassing moment
  • Green: Favorite sports team
  • Yellow: Favorite movie
  • Brown: Place they’d like to travel
  • Orange: Hobby
  • Blue: Whatever they’d like to share

Conclusion
Including one or more of these ideas will hopefully make attendees feel connected and welcome at your event. Be sure to collect feedback from attendees at the end of the meeting to see what worked and what didn’t. If you only tried one of the ideas listed above, perhaps try a different one at your next meeting. Keep testing until you find the ones your attendees love.

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