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A book presented by

Connect Space

Get the E-Book Now

Lorem Ipsum
Dolor Sit amet

A book presented by

Connect Space

Get the E-Book Now

Lorem Ipsum
Dolor Sit amet

A book presented by

Connect Space

Get the E-Book Now

Lorem Ipsum
Dolor Sit amet

A book presented by

Connect Space

Get the E-Book Now

Contents

Page No: 1

Introduction

Introduction

The Complete Guide to 10x Networking for Event Attendees

Networking is an essential element that can make or break the success of a B2B event. It facilitates lead generation, recruitment, partnerships, and branding by enabling meaningful connections between attendees.

However, productive networking does not happen by accident. It relies on event organizers deliberately designing environments, sessions, infrastructure, and technology to motivate and facilitate engagement between participants.

Our networking event playbook covers proven strategies to maximize networking contacts for your attendees from team meetings to conferences by creating the right atmosphere, opportunities and using the best technology to promote connections.

What we will cover:

  • Selecting event venues optimized for networking
  • Incorporating matchmaking technology like Connect Space into your event stack
  • Designing spaces that psychologically encourage interactions
  • Icebreakers and programming that give people a reason to mingle
  • Catering logistics to spark conversations during meals
  • Capturing attendee insights to improve future events

By the end, you will have actionable ideas to integrate into your upcoming event as well as find out how to influence venue owners and the vendors you hire. Follow these tips to ensure your next event has attendees networking effortlessly from start to finish.

The Connect Space Difference

We started by building a great event management product, yet the more we built, we realized event management is about much more than creating an agenda and registration.

The value of events has always been the ability to forge valuable relationships, and we believe our software helps you make those connections. Connect Space’s mission is to provide mobile-friendly software that enables organizations to facilitate valuable business connections between the members and customers they serve. 

Connect Space is an easy-to-use, all-in-one event management platform. We provide organizations the flexibility and tools to support their goals for live, hybrid, and virtual events on a private mobile application. Most if not all, other event technology companies are built from an engineer's or audience member's perspectives.

Connect Space is based in Ann Arbor, MI, with offices in Detroit, MI. We serve customers across America and event attendees from around the world.

Testimonials

Hear from Our Clients

"I loved how available and supportive the tech team was! They ensured we had the virtual conference set up correctly and were there to answer any questions. While the cost was still very reasonable, I paid a bit more than my lowest big for peace of mind."

Louise M.

CEO, Non-profit Organization

"Using this management software has exceeded my expectations, and has also provided unique ways to improve the overall event experience."

Robert Chasnis

Development & Operations Manager, Pure Michigan

Page No: 2

Case Study

Pure Michigan Business Connect

The Pure Michigan tourism board hosts an annual national industry conference bringing together 600 executives and vendors from across the hospitality and leisure sectors.

Amidst thought leadership sessions, roundtable workshops and an expo hall, facilitating direct business networking is a core goal so participants gain opportunities to attract future conferences and travel business to Michigan.

Solution
Pure Michigan partnered with Connect Space to maximize networking potential throughout the multi-day event via:

Matchmaking

Attendees filled out in-depth profiles on specializations, target markets and capabilities. The Connect Space algorithm precisely matched compatible partners based on preferences.

Lead Reports

Barcode scan integration tracked booth visits, session attendance and interactions. Aggregated lead reports showed participant behavior analytics to identify hot prospects.

Gamification

Personalized networking scoreboards motivated connections through points earned, displayed on a leaderboard and rewarded through prize draws.

Post-event Networking

The online platform enabled continuing conversations by industry segment, uploading docs and directly messaging new contacts.

The Results

  • 26% increase in business connections made vs previous years
  • 31% more booth visits from priority prospects
  • 5x higher open & click through rates for post-event email follow-ups
  • 15 confirmed conventions attracted with expected economic impact of $12M over the next 3 years

The Connect Space platform provided Pure Michigan detailed event analytics around participant engagement and networking behaviors. This supported data-driven planning for future events, saving time while optimizing spending on venues, food and presentations to facilitate more valuable connections.

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Venue Selection and Layout

While easily overlooked, choosing venues with built-in support for networking makes a significant impact. Prioritize more spacious, creatively designed locations over lavish decor that cram people together.

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On-site Support Team

Event Manager

  • Look for an experienced event manager or event partner like Connect Space to have on on-site during the entire event who can quickly resolve issues related to registration, coordinating catering or technology mishaps so the event runs smoothly.
  • They should handle all vendor communications and logistics like converting rooms between sessions, adjusting lighting or temperature issues, managing deliveries etc. This point person troubleshoots problems before attendees notice them.

IT Technician

  • Venues should guarantee dedicated on-site IT support to immediately address public Wi-Fi network congestion, presentation issues, video conferencing fails or application glitches.
  • Slow internet and tech issues frustrate guests and interrupt networking as people become disengaged. Prompt IT maintenance prevents these momentum-killing issues.

Friendly Staff

  • Experienced venue staff enhance the attendee experience by being welcoming, readily answering questions and elevating the hospitality of an event through their 5-star customer service.
  • Whether it is the parking attendant, server clearing dishes or usher swiping badges, pleasant interactions with event staff encourage attendees stick around at the event longer.

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Design & Infrastructure

Spaces to Mix and Mingle

  • Allow for open pre-function areas, wide hallways and comfortable lounge spaces adjacent to sessions so people can continue conversations before, after and between programs.
  • Cramped spaces outside rooms cause crowds that discourage networking while sparse hanging areas allow people to easily exit rather than stop to chat.

Seating Arrangements

  • Maximize open floor plans with mostly standing tables along walls and scattered highboys to facilitate circulating rather than formal rounds that cloister small groups.
  • Have adjacent comfortable couches, benches and living room arrangements to continue discussions but minimize sit-down dining setups.

Acoustic Management

  • Prioritize sites designed with sound dampening materials, thick walls between rooms and quality PA systems so conversations don't require straining from background noise.
  • Noise encouragement networking groups to move out rather than linger unless the music and energy aligns with the intended atmosphere.

Adequate Lighting

  • Demand spaces with huge windows, outdoor access and bright lighting balanced with flexible dimmer switches to set the desired ambience.
  • Overly dark or harsh lighting hastens attendee departure for the exit rather than another interaction.

Reliable Wi-Fi

  • Guarantee sufficient bandwidth and routers to avoid bottlenecks for hundreds of devices so attendees can exchange digital information and use apps without frustrating lags or drop-offs.
  • Spotty connections disrupt the exchange of networking information plus prevents technology like Connect Space from enabling interactions.

Wayfinding Signage

  • Well designed directional signage placed strategically throughout venues guides people to desired locations, important amenities and recommended networking hubs preventing confusion and wasted time looking for areas.
  • Limited or confusing signage causes frustration that manifests as negative impressions making networking more difficult afterwards.

Food & Beverage Stations

  • Demand multiple drink and snack stations spread conveniently around lobbies, corridors and pre-function spaces so networking conversations aren't interrupted by necessities.
  • Scarce, hard to find and overcrowded food/beverage areas guarantee people abandon networking in favor of their needs.

Incorporate Technology

  • Digital platforms provide huge opportunities to improve networking before, during and after events. Integrating innovations like Connect Space enhances meaningful interactions through better data, efficient scheduling and extended conversations.

Here are key capabilities to look for in an event app to impact attendee networking:

1. Matchmaking Algorithm

This automatically recommends relevant people to connect with based on mutual compatibilities like industry focus, job roles and product interests collected during the registration process and onsite through lead retrieval tools. Rather than leaving introductions to chance encounters, technology enables powerful networking intelligence.

2. Interactive Profiles

Encourage participants to complete detailed profiles covering their professional background, organizations, product/service offerings, current goals and other relevant details. This provides conversation starters when matched attendees first meet in person while powering the recommendations.

3. Smart Scheduling

Networking is hampered when people gravitate to the same popular venues, guest speakers or exhibitors. Leverage real time recommendations to distribute attendee flows more evenly across solutions onsite. This prevents congestion and improves interactions with vendors most relevant to individual interests.

Gamification

People need extra motivation to network effectively when pulled by agendas and existing internal contacts. Networking games that reward meeting new people via points, recognition on leaderboards and prizes results in more connections actually made.

Lead Retrieval

Scanning attendee badges during conversations captures engagement data across booths, venues and sessions. This reveals behavioral insights to optimize future events while informing post-event followup for sponsors based on in-person interactions.

Post-Event Access

Don't limit networking to only during the event days. Keep conversations going by providing both attendees and exhibitors access to profiles, presentations, recordings and contact capabilities after via chat, embeddable comment streams, integrated video meetings and email templates.

Interaction Insights

Convert the plethora of engagement data via scans, visits and platform interactions into actionable analytics. Dashboards flag emerging topics amongst participants, highlight standout sessions, popular vendors and promising individuals worth meeting based on networking behaviors.

Designing Environments

Even utilitarian event venues can encourage networking through creative layouts and design choices leveraging spacial psychology and behavioral architecture principles.

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Sensory Ambience

Music

Pick background music with 66-72 beats per minute which encourages fluid mingling rather than static formation of groups. Faster music promotes quick consumption while slower music makes people more stationary.

Aroma

Scent the venue during registration, meals and receptions with inviting smells like fresh coffee, baked goods or floral arrangements. Soothing odors trigger social reactions key to positive initial networking impressions.

Decor

Feature large visually interesting murals, artistic centerpieces in gathering areas and rotating displays of attendee generated content submission like live caricatures, video diaries and contest entries. This sparks curiosity that kicks off conversations when attendees interact while observing the ever changing decor details.

Free Samples

Sprinkle small complimentary treats matched to the theme like hot cocoa at a winter ball, mini gelato cups at a conference in Rome or macarons at Parisian invitation only gala to delight tastebuds between conversations.

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Venue Layout Optimization

Defining Spaces

Use carpets, lighting styles, furniture arrangements and structural features to define, encourage and facilitate movement between open networking spaces adjacent to sessions, booths and meals rather than forcing people choose between them.

Directional Flow

Pay attention to how structural pillars, aisles, corridors and room exits unconsciously guide people and arrange networking hubs along the most traveled routes between sessions and during breaks rather than the outskirts reached only by going out of one's way. Site maps highlighting networking zones improve awareness to seek them out

Seating Flexibility

Arrange seating to grow conversations rather than limit them through easily movable chairs to pull up and group sizes flexible enough to add people or split into smaller discussions. Fixed theater style seating points people only to the stage rather than each other before and after.

Capacity Distribution

Allocate room capacity and expected attendance to minimize overcrowding in popular rooms by creating intrigue for secondary options: Utilize naming like "Fireside Chat with X in the Founders Lounge" for a smaller presentation, highlight unique activities like DIY stations and offer exclusivity through priority access granted by gamification point levels. This distributes crowds more evenly across venues to improve networking capacity.

Layered Privacy

Define public spaces for open interactions along with opportunities for more private small group networking varying from completely opaque enclosed glass rooms available on demand to semi-private bench seating around structural columns and intentional landscaping nooks. Allow attendees comfortable spaces to connect one on one or in small groups within the large event, providing conversational flexibility.

Smart Sponsor Placement

Locate booths by related themes like having HR focused solution providers together rather than randomly scattered forcing people to zig zag across venue layouts they get frustrated and networking suffers. This allows attendees interested in certain topics or industries to efficiently visit multiple relevant exhibitors already engaged in meaningful context.

Interactive Activities

Incorporating the following activities throughout an event gives participants a shared experience to bond over and reasons to engage those with common interests around them.

Participant Panels

Gather on stage or in person 6-8 attendees from broad backgrounds to share perspectives on event topics highlighting differences of opinion and experiences. This allows audiences to continue discussing viewpoints with panelists they align or disagree with during networking periods to gain further insights.

Solve-a-thons

Split into teams tasked with crafting solutions to relevant problems sponsors or organizers pose on topics like improving event sustainability, localization issues or nursing shortages to reveal mutual passions, competencies and approaches worth delving into together post session.

Demo Downloads

Schedule sessions where vendors offer mini demonstrations explaining key capabilities that solve issues attendees' experience. Not only does this facilitate business matchmaking but also enables networking around shared operational pains, competitor experiences and advice others have to enhance the solutions.

Best Practice Showcases

Local end users of relevant solutions highlight deployment advice and quantify performance gains realized in presentations. Attend targeting industries with common scenarios networking conversations afterwards can consult on.

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Gamification

Exchange Cards

Handout bingo style cards or personalized lists requiring collecting signatures, selfies, booth stamps or content shares via social media with others matching defined attributes like roles, alumni or purpose themes. Completed cards earn prize drawings motivating networking with those beyond existing relationships.

Leaderboards

Display names and photos of top attendees by number connections made, total points earned or session cards completed. The friendly competition motivates increased interactions striving to move up the rankings.

Team Challenges

Assign attendees to teams across functions or by regional chapter. Teams compete on goals like total new social media followers generated through attendees networking with each other, points for visiting partner booths or number of session cards fully stamped by answering game questions posed requiring mingling quickly between rooms to keep pace and rack up progress.

Referral Bonuses

People receive bonuses for making quality introductions between fellow attendees based on mutual fit like job functions, industry roles or operational challenges. When initial meetings occur both parties award points recognizing the value gained by connecting them and the referee also gains points for facilitating the high value networking.

Crazy Cred

Candid photographer circulates documenting crazy and fun situations like dance offs between executives, huge attendee group photos, eating contests and outrageous poses in front of branded backdrops. Photos uploaded to the event platform allow participants to tag themselves earning crazy cred points for how much they added to the experiential atmosphere by stepping outside their roles.

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Crowdsourcing Connections

Attendee Polls

Short one to three question pulse check surveys gauge opinions, perspectives and approaches on topics relevant to the audience. Displays of responses spark networking by uncovering surprising areas of alignment or amusing contradictions on issues providing non-confrontational opportunities to delve deeper into varying views held.

Pinups

Designate noticeboards, slides rotating between presentations or object walls for people to post challenges faced, advice needed, offers extended and requests like "Seeking marketing services", "Who needs help on virtual onboarding?" or "Launching sustainability platform for hotels & venues looking for beta testers". Attendees browse topics categorizing these pinups flags to connect with those posting aligning needs and capabilities.

Fishbowl Discussions

Select a panel of 4-6 experts plus eager attendees lining up chairs behind. Every 5 minutes new chairs participants swap into the front row seats to continue discussing current themes or add related topics circulating fresh perspectives into the active fishbowl. When returning to the outer chairs attendees now have shared context to connect with others also engaged by the themes highlighted.

Smart Wall

Project an interactive smart wall aggregating attendee generated content like live posts, audience response polls and curated feed of customized event hashtags where participants scroll themselves while standing enabling networking opportunities to arise browsing similar items of interest.

Analog Curation

Position large poster boards asking questions like "What innovative solution are you working on?" with sticky notes, mind maps for clustering concepts or literature review pieces posted to a common canvas. Nearby supplies allow constant attendee contributions organically clustered into trends and conversations pieces start without any formal invitation or digital overwhelm required.

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Catering

Providing quality food and beverages tailored to spur networking encourages deeper conversations to flow more freely:

Reception Style Events

Rather than formal plated dinners which isolate seated groups during lengthy programs that hamper networking flows, reception formats promote fluid interactions.

Have buffet lines with a variety of action stations scattered throughout venues to prevent crowding rather than in centralized mass queue halls. Integrate receptions into spaces adjacent to stages hosting entertainment and bars facilitating transported group flow between changed contexts.

Extended Schedules

Build in at least 30 minutes of flex time so people don't rush out between sessions or interrupt conversations mid-word when buffet lines close or events hard stop.

Provide coffee/tea stations to enjoy while networking before sessions actually start rather than leaving conversations to run for food lines.

Spread Out Beverage Access

Nothing kills networking momentum quicker than congregating masses bottlenecked waiting for drinks while a few lucky ones continue conversations drink in hand.

Prevent this by having multiple open bar locations ideally supplemented by roaming servers circulating with mobile drink carts. Self-service water stations must have sufficient spouts and cup supplies to avoid wasting time waiting rather than quenching thirsts while networking.

And non-alcoholic infused waters, premium juices and on-theme signature drinks invites exploration between networking conversations.

High Tables

Scatter tall tables with stools throughout dining and lounge areas without chairs at standard height tables so groups can eat & mingle rather than sit the entire time. Leave ample open space around buffets and food stations for pop up networking queues and temporary clusters conversing without blocking traffic flows.

Fill Gaps Purposefully

Schedule additional sessions, activities and entertainment between lunch, coffee breaks and happy hours so networking continues seamlessly rather than everyone disengaging simultaneously to dine or refresh causing engagement momentum to lag afterwards.

Great examples include ignite style talks where staff or attendees sign up on the spot to speak on relevant topics for 5 minutes including Q&A, desk side vendor demos, 10x style networking introductions to highly curated groups and purposeful tours highlighting event locations unique character between main programs.

Special & Themed Menus

Make meals an integral experience of events rather than just sustenance by aligning cuisine, decor and music to location, industry or culture.

Rather than generic conference food have a sushi showcase at tech gatherings in Seattle, a southwest fiesta night at Arizona based leadership events or authentic soul food buffet at a gathering of African American executives. This gives attendees initial reasons to connect over meal themes they respond to.

Dietary Preferences

Ensure vegetarian, gluten free, halal, kosher and common allergy friendly options are available at all meals rather than after thoughts. Nobody wants to explain restrictions while strangers eat.

Proactively label dietary preferences on name badges so servers and fellow attendees gracefully accommodate allowing everyone to focus conversations on networking rather than apologies for incorrect dishes received.

Efficient Replenishment

Nothing hampers networking over meals simultaneously than empty buffets and drink stations. Venues must prioritize sufficient staff for swift refilling, bussing and replating so crowds disperse once nutrition goals met rather than congregate and wait again preventing further networking connections for those done eating.

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The Bottom Line

Strategic networking is vital for event success. Utilizing the right combination of environment, technology, activities and infrastructure produces more meaningful conversations and connections between attendees.Find out how the Connect Space app can boost networking between attendees by 10x at your next event, contact us or book a demo below:

Book A Demo

Contact for Sales:

Conner Olenech

Account Executive

Email: colenech@connectspaceinc.com

Call Now: 844-668-3348

Website: www.connectspace.com

Business Info: Connect Space Inc. 320 S Main St, Ste CAnn Arbor, MI, USA48103

Ready to Host Better B2B Events?

Book a demo to learn how attendees can benefit from Connect Space at your next event.