Your attendees are ready to network. In fact, one of their primary goals is to connect with other attendees at your event.
As an event planner, facilitating your attendees’ ability to network should be part of your planning. Some planners have even started incorporating designated networking areas into their events.
But is a defined networking area right for your event? Let’s take a closer look so you can decide for yourself.
Benefits of Dedicated Networking Areas
Designated networking areas can add several benefits to your event and your attendees’ overall experience. While the success of these areas depends on your setup and audience, here are a few of the benefits they can provide:
♦ Puts a Spotlight on Networking – When you showcase designated areas for connecting, you’re letting your attendees know that you’ve prioritized networking at your event. This visibility can help put networking on their radar and facilitate more face-to-face meetings.
♦ Creates a Space for Connecting – Your event has a lot going on. If you designate spaces for networking, it can give your attendees a quiet spot to talk without the interruption of event activities.
♦ Adds a Touch of Novelty – Some of your attendees may not be familiar with designated networking areas. So, adding them can add a touch of novelty and excitement to your event when you show your attendees something they haven’t seen before.
Incorporating a designated area for networking at your event can show your attendees that you want to facilitate connections and make networking a priority.
Considerations for Dedicated Networking Areas
While creating specific spots for networking sounds like a good idea, there are potential drawbacks that you should consider before you make a decision. Once again, the success of a designated networking area depends on your event goals and the overall design you have in mind.
Here are a few items related to designated networking areas for you to consider:
♦ Forced Networking – Networking is a natural process, based on people’s internal drive to connect with others. Designated areas can make networking feel forced. While most of your attendees want to network, many find it daunting. Having a forced environment, versus letting it happen more naturally, can be a disadvantage for those attendees.
♦ Added Expenses – Depending on the setup you choose; designated networking areas can be expensive. This extra space, especially those that are highly designed, can add cost to your event for an activity that can occur naturally anywhere around your venue.
♦ Limited Connecting – Setting up dedicated areas for networking can potentially backfire. If you have attendees who don’t have much experience with networking, they may think that they can only network in your designated spots. This belief can limit the number of connections they make by confining them to one spot.
Depending on your audience, your goals, and the atmosphere you have planned for your event, designated networking areas may not be the best option for your event.
Consider a Combined Approach
You can help your attendees connect with each other through use of a mobile event app. These apps allow you to enhance your attendees’ experiences in a variety of ways, including making it easy for them to meet, exchange information, and learn more about their new connections.
Mobile event apps make networking easy using:
♦ Searchable Directories
♦ Activity Feeds and Social Walls
♦ Direct Messaging Features
♦ In-App Note Taking
♦ Unique Attendee Profiles
♦ QR Code Scanning
♦ Networking Gamification
♦ Proximity Beacon Notifications
♦ Matchmaking Algorithms
Your mobile event app with networking features will make it easy for your attendees to connect and can even provide matchmaking functionality that will help your attendees know who they should connect with. Because your attendees will most likely always have their phone with them, this means that networking can happen anywhere they are and can have a more natural feel to it. At the same time, offering dedicated space will provide them with additional space for attendees to enhance their networking experience, especially if they are looking to schedule a meet-up.
Whether you use a designated networking area or not, it’s important that you plan your event to include plenty of interactive activities and time for casual communication.
We can help you transform your entire event with our customizable event apps and white-glove support services. Contact us today if you’d like to schedule a demo and see our innovative technology in action.