This is the fifth blog from our series of top 7 tips! If you’ve just joined us, and you want to start from the top, you can read the rest of the series here.
Networking in person. Whether you’re a wallflower or the centre of attention, you know what to expect. Congregate around the coffee, see someone you know, or read a name badge that tells you this is someone whose company you want to engage with. You shake hands and get talking. Online, or hybrid, it can be a bit different.
It’s hard to engage with people if the host is organising you into networking groups, there are no social cues to indicate who is about to speak next, or who you’re directing your question at, and there’s often no easy way to casually leave the group you’re in and join another!
However, networking is one of the reasons people attend events. For some, it’s the only reason! Events are where people go to find new clients, engage with likeminded people in their industry, talent scout, and more.
You get the crowd going. It can be as easy as suggesting ice breakers and topics. Don’t leave people to network and assume they’re quietly getting on with it; give them some topics to talk about, think about how to make it less daunting for them, and ensure there is a way for people to speak to others who they want to engage with. Some online platforms, such as Haia, will have networking built in. It’s worth thinking about using one of these platforms if you want people to be able to network in an intuitive and valuable way.
Networking might seem like a side-benefit to your events, but remember from your audience’s point of view, they want to get as much out of the day as they possibly can. Help them to achieve this, and they’ll keep coming back to your events for more, and possibly even bringing others along with them.