Networking events are a great way to get to know people in business, but they present a host of problems for both attendees and the organizer.
If you’re attending an event and feel nervous, there are several tips you can use in our article on ‘An Introverts Guide to Networking’ to help get you through the day. If you’re someone organizing an event, then you’ll want your group to chat, mingle and network. We’ve got five great ways you can help to make that happen.
Name Tag Swapping
This is a method by which people have to talk to others at the event in order to get back their own name tag. You hand out name tags to everyone but not their own; they then have to find the owner of the tag they have and pass it on.
It’s not that simple though; they need to ask three questions before they hand over the name tag. They might not even be talking to the right person, but it’s a great way to break down those early jitters.
Playing a game of some sort is a great way to get people talking to each other, and bingo is a hugely adaptable game, which can be used effectively. Foxy Bingo’s ‘How to Play’ guide lists the many versions of the game, which shows just how popular and adaptable it is. One great adaptation useful in this situation is ‘people bingo’.
As outlined by an article on Thought Co, it’s really easy to play. All you need to do is get all your participants to list one fact about themselves, anything from ‘lived in Denmark’ to ‘plays basketball’. Then, having prepared bingo cards featuring combinations of the facts, give everyone 30 minutes to mingle and cross interests from their card. The first full card is the winner, but the real winner is your event, as people shed their inhibitions.
Business Card Collecting
This might seem obvious, but giving people at your event time to collect business cards at the start is a great way to get them talking. An article by Your Business explains how important having a business card is and these events are the perfect opportunity to get yours out there.
Give everyone half an hour, and then set them the task of talking to as many people as possible and swapping business cards. The more they get, the more people they will have spoken to and the ice will be well and truly broken.
One of the ways a Succeed Socially article advises you to contribute to a group is by having something to say others want to listen to, so a game of statements is a good way to involve everyone around a table.
Give each table a set of statements, ranging from anything like ‘my favorite color is…’ to ‘my first car was…’ or ‘on a Sunday I like to…’ Then, each person around the table gives an answer. It ensures everyone has something to say and brings the whole group into a discussion.
It might throw up a few common interests as well.
Public speaking can be terrifying and Psychology Today suggests it could be because the speaker fears damaging their own credibility when they speak to a large group.
With that in mind, structuring the introduction is important; it would be beneficial to get everyone to say a few words to the group introducing themselves and certainly if you’re on a time limit, this is a great way to get to know who is in the group.
Maybe do it in smaller groups or around the table, but ask each participant to give an introduction of themselves. Make it less worrying by setting the structure, asking for a name, line of business and one fun fact about their past, or something equally as ambiguous.
Contributed by: Anthony Walters.