Research has shown that individuals attend conferences for two reasons: education and networking. However, for some attendees, the thought of standing in a room with a bunch of strangers trying to make small talk can be nerve-wracking.
Thanks to the marvels of technology, there are apps available today to make the networking process easier and even fun, no matter how introverted your attendees might be. However, the key is to always remember that networking is about personal connections, so “old school” methods still apply.
- Be Present.
When meeting someone for the first time or reconnecting with an individual after several weeks, months or even years, spend time getting to know him or her. It really isn’t about quantity, it’s about quality. Don’t glance around the room looking for someone better to connect with — stay with the person until the conversation comes to a natural end.
- Ask Questions.
If networking makes you nervous, have two or three questions in your arsenal to ask. However, if you have been at the conference for the last 24 to 48 hours, questions about the conference, venue, topics discussed or speakers are natural discussion-starters.
- Give and Receive Business Cards.
If the conversation stalls out, exchange business cards. Take a moment to really look at the other person’s card and see if there is a way to restart the dialogue. Even if the conversation ends naturally, be sure to exchange cards for future reference.
- Say “Thank You.”
Thank the person for spending a few minutes with you and let him or her know you appreciated the opportunity to get to know him or her better.
- Follow Up.
If you said you would send the person something or connect him or her with another individual, be sure to follow up one to three days after the conference. This shows that you genuinely want to help him or her succeed.
Following the networking session or sometime during the conference, use this business tool to connect with all the individuals you networked with. Be sure to personalize your invitation and send greetings to those individuals from time to time.
This mobile app allows users to sign in through LinkedIn and create a series of 10 hashtags about their professional and personal interests. One of those hashtags should be the event tag. Then, the app will make daily recommendations of 10 to 14 people you should connect with based on those hashtags.
Once they accept the connection, the app can help facilitate a time and place to meet at the venue.
This mobile app is all the craze because it works with your phone’s GPS, camera and clock to determine where you are and provides a way to virtually catch Pokémon. You create an avatar, and it will show where the Pokémon are relative to your position.
But the most exciting part of this app is it forces you to get up and walk around. All conference attendees can discover new parts of the venue and collect points at a PokeStop or Gym.
In addition, you can set up a team-based scavenger hunt where each Pokémon will have an assigned value. The team with the most points at the end of the hunt can win a prize.
This app can act as a great networking icebreaker as attendees talk about the different types of Pokémon, ones they want to trade and where they found them.
Kalahari Is All About Networking
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions has flexible space and a variety of breakout rooms for networking, including ballrooms, meeting rooms, luxury boardrooms, hospitality suites and, of course, the waterpark! Submit a short RFP online, and one of our experienced sales professionals will work with you to develop an awesome networking event!