De-programming for Better Event Networking
You put a ton of work into your event planning. You try to control every aspect of your event to ensure it’s a success for your attendees, vendors, speakers, and sponsors. You have backup plans for every problem that could arise, and you know your schedules down to the second.
But is your to-the-minute scheduling ruining your attendees’ experiences?
While you need to have control of your event from start to finish, there may be some logic in taking a step back and relaxing the daily schedule at your event. Here’s why it makes sense.
Less Can Be More
Your attendees have a lot to take in during your event. They’re excited about the food, hotel, travel, speakers, networking, content, venue, and new experiences. Even if your event spans several days, it’s difficult for them to take in everything you have in store for them.
To accommodate, you spend hours planning out activities and schedules that fit together like puzzle pieces. One session flows immediately into another.
But here’s where problems can arise. If you don’t leave room for downtime or give your attendees a choice of what content to follow, you overwhelm them and detract from their experience.
Freeing up your event scheduling or offering more interactive sessions can create several benefits for your attendees, like:
- Giving your attendees an opportunity to network
- Allowing your guests to step outside and get some fresh air
- Creating less-structured activities that allow for interaction and discussion
- Allowing your attendees to explore your venue and the surrounding area
- Placing a focus on social interaction and exchanging ideas
- Reducing your attendees’ stress and frustration
- Avoiding event fatigue
Some event planners are starting to rethink their planning. Their new approach involves creating a relaxing environment that fosters collaboration and connection, as opposed to rigid scheduling.
To explore this idea further, let’s take one of the points above and see how this can benefit your attendees.
Open Schedules and Attendee Networking
One of the main reasons your attendees show up to your events is to network with other attendees. They want to meet people who share similar backgrounds, experiences, ideas, and hobbies.
One of your main responsibilities as an event planner is to create an event that makes networking easy and helps people overcome any awkward feelings they may have about approaching other people.
If you’ve crammed too many formal activities and sessions into your event, your attendees don’t have the time to network. They’re also probably too stressed to relax and have a comfortable conversation with your vendors, speakers, sponsors, and other attendees.
On the other hand, if you relax your scheduling and plan for downtime or incorporate shorter more meaningful sessions that are interactive, you can facilitate networking in several ways.
- Your attendees have time to network and share ideas with each other
- Everyone is less stressed and more receptive to meeting new people
- Your attendees have time to meet in a more casual atmosphere
- You can include gamification and other fun activities that promote networking
There’s a new focus on social interaction and networking at events. Your attendees want to connect with other attendees, and it’s important that you plan your events accordingly.
Are you over-planning your events? Are you leaving enough time for networking and relationship building?
Contact us if you’d like to find out how our mobile event apps can make your event more enjoyable and free-flowing. Your attendees will love you for it.