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The Handy Guide to Cashing in the Currency of Networking

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A comprehensive guide on event networking, from essentials to networking technology, net'work' your way through any event.

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The Handy Guide to Cashing in the Currency of Networking

  1. 1. THE HANDY GUIDE to Cashing in the Currencyof NETWORKING
  2. 2. Table of Contents AnInsightintoEvent Networking DifferentStakeholdersInvolvedinEvent Networking TheInsandOuts of anEventNetworkingPlatform HowTechnologyisHelpinginSetting‘Business Dates’ WhyEventNetworkingPlatformisanExcellent Investment BonusChapter:10UnconventionalWaysinWhichEvent PlannershaveFacilitatedNetworkingatEvents 04 13 17 24 30 39 THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 2
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION Human beings are social animals. We are interdependent. This is a fact that applies to almost every aspect of our lives. From a pro- fessional perspective, an effective network is crucial to success. The people you know do matter. But, how exactly do you build these contacts? How exactly do you network? Worry not, for in this book we shall cover the essential basics of networking. From essential tips to networking technology, here’s your ultimate guide to cashing in the true currency ofnetworking. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 3
  4. 4. 1 AN INSIGHTINTO EVENT NETWORKING Meetings, conventions, conferences, and trade shows are the market lead- ers of the event industry in the 21stcentury. The US alone accounts for 1.8 million business meetings, conferences, trade shows etc. with more than 205 million attendees. Being a part of any corporate industry in the world, you too must have no- ticed and attended many local, national or even global conferences and events of your industry. But despite these numbers, most attendees often fail to answer one simplequestion: What long-term benefits do you gain from attending a conference? Google search ‘Benefits of attending conferences’ and you will come across no less than a 100 of them. But how many of those benefits do you actually find applicable in yourcase? Attending a large-scale conference is no big deal. Your contact and your company’s extended networks would help you find an entry in many ex- travagant events. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 4
  5. 5. AN INSIGHT INTO EVENT NETWORKING Business events are a great source for building contacts. Networking is one of the most essential aspects of attending such gatherings. Good, meaning- ful business relationships are an important takeaway from any event. Event planners have realized the importance of networking for attendees. That is why a majority of event planners these days make sure to facilitate networking in some way or the other. It could be an ice-breaking event or a networking session. But in order to ensure that you actually yield something out of it, one needs to prepare. Let us understand where to begin with for these preparations. Understanding the Achievable Before beginning the preparations, jot down the answer to this question: What do you aim to achieve from attending a professionalevent? Go on with this blog if your list some- what matches to thisone. • Expanding industry knowledge • Long-term Networking Now that we have on hand our requirements and the achievable benefits, we can begin with thepreparations. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 5
  6. 6. AN INSIGHT INTO EVENT NETWORKING Expandyour knowledge horizons While the books and blogs you read have an enormous amount of knowledge, learning things from your industry speakers and influencers is a totally differentthing. Not only do you get to find out the deeper insights of the industry, you also get to learn about the recent trends, technologies, and innovations in the industry. But the question remains, how to retain theirdeliverables for a longtime? Knowledge Management A recent survey says that the amount of information received by a person every day is equivalent to reading 174newspapers daily. Adding to it, you have the information given by these conference speakers. Such information overdose prevents you from perceiving more than 80%of what is received. Thus, if you want to actually yield something out of what those speakers said in the last event, manage the information you receive. A few simple steps would help you dothis. • Record the sessions Use audio/video recorders or simply take down digital notes to record the information received. Store them and keep themaccessible. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 6
  7. 7. AN INSIGHT INTO EVENT NETWORKING Once you have all the delivered information available, you can decide which things make sense to you and which ones don’t. Plus, this will help you have a revision of the information long-time after the event. All you need to do is go back to yourrecords! • Filter and choose Every event would have a number of talks and presentations. It is humanly impossible and practically a waste to attend every single one of these. That is why, it is crucial that before going to the event, go through the ses- sions’ details and filter out the sessions which would be useful for you. Get the details of the speakers and analyze the usefulness of the session for you. This way, you would save your time by skipping the unnecessary ones. • Question,learn, network Industry leaders function as the speakers of professional events. This is the reason the speakers aremasters in the field. While attending their presentations, feel free to interact with them and come up with questions. Not only during the presentation, you can continue the conversation after it as well. This will not only help you learn but also network with these pioneers. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 7
  8. 8. AN INSIGHT INTO EVENT NETWORKING • Have your own discussions Never limit yourself to the discussions taking place in the event. Bring out your learning and use the information to have other discussions as well. Interact with your office colleagues or other peers and understand the topic way better. Buildlong-termbusiness networks Though learning is a benefit of attending professional events, it is the secondary goal of most of the attendees. The primary goal, however, is to build anetwork. Meeting people from various domains of your industry can help you build crucial long-term relationships for your professional life. These networks can help you grow your clientele, find you new sponsors or just help you in various parts of your business. However, you need to strate- gize your networking beforehand in order to build only useful contacts. After all, you don’t want to waste your time with people totally unrelated to your industry and business. The MereExposure Effect Familiarity principle or what psychologists call the ‘mere exposure effect’ is a very efficient method of networking at professional events. This principle says that when exposed to a person, idea or thing repeatedly, our inclination towards it increases and we find it more preferable. You can use this principle efficiently to build useful networks at your next profession- al event. How? Let’ssee: THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 8
  9. 9. AN INSIGHT INTO EVENT NETWORKING • The Starters Before introducing yourself and making use of the familiarity principle, you need some preparations. First of all, recognize the people you wish to build contacts with. There are going to be a lot of fellow attendees and speakers. Building contacts with all of them is not possible. That is why it is essential to filter out the relevant people. Find the industries they belong to and understand if their contact can help you. Shortlist the people you wish to network with and learn more about them in detail. • The Execution Now that you know the people, it is time to interact and execute the principle wediscussed. Begin this process before the event. Create small relevant surveys or polls on the event community. Ask questions from the speakers sessions which might be useful to other attendees as well. Or simply strike up a discussion on a significant topic. This will help other attendees recognizeyou. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 9
  10. 10. AN INSIGHT INTO EVENT NETWORKING Such knowledge distribution would play the role of the second trigger in the familiarization process. It will not only help you get recognized but also give you some perspective about your fellow attendees. It will help you build a positive reputation for yourself and other attendees would look up to your knowledge and findings. After having these conversations and discussions, you have now become known to other attendees. You can also use the networking platform to set up meetings with attendees you find important. Your pre-established recog- nition would help you set up these meetings easily. • Sidestep the Bummers Even after all such preparations, you can still end up with no or minimal re- sults. Everything discussed for networking till now is the preparatory stage. The actual results are gained post the meetings you have. There are a lot of mistakes you can create in these meeting. Make sureto sidestep them. a. Networkwitha plan Don’t just go on networking with people from your industry. Ensure to filter out the people before you begin networking. If not, you might end up in a meeting without any goal at all. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 10
  11. 11. AN INSIGHT INTO EVENT NETWORKING b. Get the details In order to understand the mutual benefits that you and your potential network can provide, you need to know them. Find out the details of their business and understand how you can be helpful to each other. c. Define the purpose Once you choose your networks, define the purpose of the meeting to yourself and to them aswell. This includes things like why do you wish to network with them or what ben- efits can they yield fromthis meeting. d. Beready withthe content Have some topics in mind and ensure that you are reaching the meeting with your content ready. Though it might not be a meeting where you are presenting something, but given the fact that you have approached them, you need something to workon. You can either have mutual ideas to share or you can brief them with your business model and ask them for the support that you require from them. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 11
  12. 12. AN INSIGHT INTO EVENT NETWORKING Networking and learning are two very broad domains of benefits of attend- ing events. As an attendee, in order to ensure to make the most of an event, just clearly define your goals and motives behind attending these events. Once you are clear with that, you can prepare accordingly and make sure that another event attended won’t be invain. As an event planner, it is easy to find ways to facilitate event networking once you learn the workings of the process. Understanding how your attendees aim to gain maximum ROI through your event using these net- working tips will help you work on delivering the same. Overall, there are a number of stakeholders involved in the process of event networking. Let us discuss these stakeholders in the next chapter. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 12
  13. 13. 2 STAKEHOLDERS INVOLVED IN EVENT NETWORKING Contrary to popular belief, networking is not just about the attendees. There are a lot of other stakeholders as well that need your attention when it comes to event networking. While the basics of networking remain the same for all, the goals they are trying to achieve through networking are usually very different. The target stakeholders they wish to work with also differ according to their motives. Identifying these different stakeholders of event networking and under- standing their requirements is very crucial. Only after such a thorough anal- ysis can you develop networking tools that would be beneficial for them all. Let us have a quick look at all of these stakeholders: 1.Sponsors: The mutually-benefiting relationship between aspon- sor and an event organiser goes beyond the aspects of money. While a sponsor can add to your event’s success in many different ways, you can also impact their ROI by considering their role innetworking. The primary goal of sponsors is usually to network with their potential cus- tomers who usually are yourattendees. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 13
  14. 14. STAKEHOLDERS INVOLVED IN EVENT NETWORKING Companies wish to sponsor events because unlike traditional advertise- ments, they get to have a live interaction with their target audience. That is why, sponsors usually wish to influence them in an impactful way at events rather than simply putting up product or services advertisements. Being an event prof, it is your responsibility to ensure that the sponsors get all the required channels for such promotional activities. 2.Exhibitors/ Traders: If you are organising tradeshows or exhibitions, the traders or exhibitors will also be added to your list of networking stakeholders. While the formal setting of such events provides them with some audience exposure, it is usually notenough. They need other ways as well to showcase their ideas, products, services, etc. They need some more interactive ways that would help them network with their target audience before or after the formal exhibition. This is necessary for them because such extra interactions help them con- nect with their target audience better and fulfill their goals easily. 3.Speakers/ Performers: Speakers or Performers are also instrumental in driving a lot of attendees to your event. You might even call them the front-end “stars of the show”. However, there is one prominentmisconception about event speakers. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 14
  15. 15. STAKEHOLDERS INVOLVED IN EVENT NETWORKING Event profs usually believe that speakers attend events only for monetary benefits. While finances constitute one of the factors, it is definitely not the only rea- son. Each speaker or performer wishes to make their “brand” even more popular and preferred by frequently reaching out to new people. Your events work as one of the platforms for them to do this. That is why, they wish to interact with the attendees apart from their formal session. Interactions with speakers or performers can also be a profitable and interesting way of increasing the audience engagement. 4. Attendees: Attendees are definitely the central focus of event networking. Attendees aim to network with other attendees of your event who might be the profes- sionals from their industry. They also wish to net- work with the traders, speakers and other people who might be a part of your event. As an event prof, you also need to understand that the networking goals of the attendees are anything but uniform. They might just wish to know other people from their industry, they might wish to learn something better from the speakers or the performs, they might want to look for potential business associates or they might simply wish to increase their contacts. Whatever be their motives, you need to ensure that your attendees get the required platform for interacting and networking with their fellow attendees and all the other eventstakeholders. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 15
  16. 16. STAKEHOLDERS INVOLVED IN EVENT NETWORKING 5.Organisers: An event organizer has various motives of hosting the event. They might have certain goals and ambitions in their mind that they plan to fulfill with the event. Whatever they might be, it is essential for organisers as well tonetwork. They need to interact with all the other stakeholders of the event in order to fulfill their individual goals. That is why, whenever you are working on the networking tools of your event, always make sure to include them as a crucial stakeholder. These were the general categories in which you can usually classify your event networking stakeholders. Networking is a crucial aspect of your event which is usually the focus and goal of almost all of the stakeholders of your event. Make sure to come up with something that would help them all. One way to do that is using event technology. It is one of the most popular way of facilitating efficient event networking, fulfilling the requirements of all the stakeholders involved. Inthe upcoming chapters, we shall discuss various tech-tools that event planners opt for in order to optimize networking at events. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 16
  17. 17. 3 THE INS & OUTS OF EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM “Networking isnot about collecting contacts. Networking isabout planting relations.” People attend events for all sorts of multiple purposes. From generating leads to collecting funds, each event has its own agenda. So do the people who attend such events. Personally, Ilike to interact with and meet new people whenever Igo toan event. That stack of business cards received along with the new connec- tions gained across Social Media platforms always give me a sense of satisfaction in terms of making the most out of the event Ijust attended. Social contacts are one of my favourite take-aways from an event. Some people attend events for the sake of getting new experiences while others attend such events for getting to know more about a particular in- dustry and get more contacts. Networking is one of the major reasons for which people sign-up for and attends an event. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 17
  18. 18. THE INS & OUTS OF EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM Whatexactly isthe purpose of networking? Dictionary defines networkingas “Interaction with others to exchange information and developprofessional or social contacts.” THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 18 So, what exact purpose do these ‘contacts’serve? Be it any business or profession, networking is key to growth and devel- opment. Affiliating with people in the same field with you will lead to more opportunities. It will also pave way for exchange of ideas and knowledge along with fruit- ful collaborations. An event is a gathering of people from all facets of life. Hence, it makes up for a perfect place to network and meet more people. Attendees at an event interact with fellow professionals and build contacts for mutual benefits. Initially, this was done through offline platforms. Even today, certain events are organized solely for networking purposes.
  19. 19. Think about it, isn’t it better to explore the event community virtually before you attend the event? Connect with fellow attendees, have a chat with them, share information and interact. Itmakes it much easier and much more efficient to network at an event, saving up your time. THE INS & OUTS OF EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM With the evolution of technology, the events industry has seen some major technological innovations. A direct effect of this is a major shift from offline to online platforms for carrying out major tasks related to event planning such as registrations, feedback,etc. Event website and event app are some of the most important event tech trends that have taken over the industry. Seeing the increasing rate of event website and event app adoption, developers of such SaaS products have taken to integrating the networking aspect with such online platforms as well. This has led to the rise of the Event Networking Platform. The Networking Platform: So, what exactly is a networking platform? It is an online platform designed for registered attendees of an event. Itis a platform where attendees can connect and interact with each other prior, during and even after the event. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 19
  20. 20. THE INS & OUTS OF EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM The nitty-gritty of the Networking Platform: The attendees can chat with each other, find fellow attendees with similar profession or interests and interact. Social media for that one event, if you will. But, it is far more professional andefficient. There are various kinds of networking platforms in the market. Some dis- tribute stand alone networking platforms event organizers can use for one particular event. Networking platforms have taken event networking to a whole new lev- el. With a plethora of features, such platforms can aid event attendees net’work’ their way through theevent. Some of the features of networking platforms currently existing in the mar- ket are: 1.Chatting: Integrating chat-bots with networking platforms makes it easier for the attendees to have one-one conversations online. People can talk, chat and discuss ideas and proposals prior to the event. It also makes it easier for people to get to know each other and to decide whether or not the person on the other end of the conversation is a fruit- ful contact to build upon. Only after the conversation can people decide whether or not a face-to-face meeting is required. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 20
  21. 21. THE INS & OUTS OF EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM 2.Engagement: Engagement is one of the key features in a net- working platform. Apart from its obviousbenefits, engagement is one way to increase your net- working platform adoption. One way to engage the attendees is by sending out scheduled push notifications. Gamification is another way to reel in the attendees. Networking games integrated with the platform will surely interest and engage the attendees and also help break theice. 3.Correct B2B matchmaking: An event will have all sorts of attendees from different domains and with different purposes. One thing that makes such networkingplatform convenient is accurate matchmaking. Be it investors looking for entrepreneurs or clients looking for vendors, a good networking platforms can help filter relevant attendees and sort them accordingly. 4. One-on-one meetings: According to Hubspot, 95%say face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships. Itis necessary to arrange face-to- face meetings for the attendees despite the chat- bot feature. Networking platforms facilitate scheduling one on one meeting and develops a schedule based on the same. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 21
  22. 22. THE INS & OUTS OF EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM 5.Maintaining schedule: Attendees might interact with quite a few fellow attendees. They would want to set up meetings while simultaneously managing sessions thatthey would like to attend. A networking platform that allows the attendees to maintain a track of the meetings that they have set up and sessions that they would want to attend is really beneficial and convenient. Adding a ‘reminder’ feature is an added bonus. 6.Content Sharing: Some Networking platforms also facilitated content sharing through an Event feedfeatures. Attendees can share usefull articles, photosand videos with the community. This helps in collective knowledge sharing throughout the event. 7.Discussionforums/Polls: The true measurement of audience engagement is the amount of input gained from the attendees. One of the purposes of networking too is to gain inputs and ideas from fellow attendees in order to increase knowledge. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 22
  23. 23. THE INS & OUTS OF EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM Networking platforms have discussion forums and polling features whereby attendees can share their opinion on a particular topic, a session or a speaker. 8.Community building: Community feature in anetworking platform has multiple benefits. Itmakes it really easy to find people in the similar field as yours and connect with them. People can post, comment, like just like in any social media group. These posts can also be moderated. Thus community building facilitates relevant and simpler networking. An event networking platform is a boon to event organizers that has a lot of benefits. As technology develops, new updates are introduced. Some networking platforms even integrate virtual assistance to further the convenience of the attendees, guiding them in terms of whom to approach, which stalls to visit, etc. This is just the beginning. Networking platforms areconstantly evolving and developing, helping the organizers to optimize their event and take it to a whole new level. You know the what’s and how’s, learn why an event networking platform is a worthy investment in the upcomingchapter. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 23
  24. 24. 4 HOW TECHNOLOGY IS HELPING IN SETTING ‘BUSINESS DATES’? Technology often gets a bad reputation for limiting our face-to-face human interaction. However, more and more attendees thrive to build new connec- tions at events, we see that technology has actually helped in enhancing the communication with others. With the advent of technology in our daily lives, the line between physical and virtual communication is getting blurred. While this doesn’t simply mean that you keep yourself glued to your smartphone. There are many tools at your disposal that you can use to expand your networks and add to your experience. Here’s how technology is shaping the future of networking atevents. 1.ConnectingAttendees throughthe Networking Platform Many of us aren’t skilled when it comes to networking. Walking into a huge event can be massivelyintimidating. To whom you should approach? Where do you meetpeople? How do you connect with the speakers whom you’ve been following on Twitter since 4years? THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 24
  25. 25. HOW TECHNOLOGY IS HELPING IN SETTING ‘BUSINESS DATES’? Event technology is the solution to such issues and answers to all the prob- lems that attendees face duringnetworking. With the excess of information available on seminars, shows and speakers available at a single touch, mobile, in particular, can help people aware about the events from the areas of their interest. And where like minded connections gather, connections are bound tohappen. Large-scale events can be adifficult place to form concreteconnections, but a networking platform can help you get past the initial hurdles and awkward introduction stage. Through a networking platform, attendees are empowered toknow other attendees even before they enter the event. You can set up basic introductory information including interests and professional background. This makes it easier for people to form a personal connection when they finally meet. And when you build personalized connections, there are greater chances you’ll want to do business with them. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 25
  26. 26. HOW TECHNOLOGY IS HELPING IN SETTING ‘BUSINESS DATES’? 2.Fostering Discussion&Participation Meeting people is step one, but engaging with those like-minded people is going to add another level of value to the event experience. Networking platforms provide a simpler, more intuitive way of making this happen. Whether through real-time polling, Q&As, or discussion boards, it can provide a road for your attendees to make their voice heard andget feed- back on theirideas. One of the hottest technology this year is iBeacons, aproximity detection technology has been transforming events by triggering location-specific prompts for interaction. Attendees are actually encouraged by this technology to “Join the Con- versation” when they enter the specific part of the venue. Networking plat- forms enable them to have access to other attendees’ profiles and are able to send messages directly within the app, eliminating the often intimidating task of approaching strangers at an event. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 26
  27. 27. HOW TECHNOLOGY IS HELPING IN SETTING ‘BUSINESS DATES’? 3.Inspiringthe MostRelevant Connections Itis equally critical for a networking platform to set up right kind of people apart from making them join the conversation. With deeper personalization and the use of in-app recommendations, event technology can help attend- ees connect with those who are most likely to make that happen. Let’s take the example of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit to understand this concept better. Organizers of Gandhinagar based Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2017event wanted to facilitate the above discussed process of building a robust net- working scene. Organizers with the help of Hubilocreated a specifically customized net- working platform integrated with their event app along with a virtual assis- tant which not only matched people’s requests and offers for knowledge but also helped in scheduling “business dates” at events. You can have a list of names and titles of other people at the event, but it’s difficult to do the actual business with a good number of people from the international market. This is where we gotinvolved. Our mission was to help attendees in breaking the ice and facilitate a common platform to not only network and do business but also plant life- long relations.” Mayank Aggarwal CTO and Co-Founder ofHubilo THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 27
  28. 28. HOW TECHNOLOGY IS HELPING IN SETTING ‘BUSINESS DATES’? Hubilooffered the matchmaking service as a part of its in-built event app networking platform, which also included advanced features like event info, speakers, schedule, agenda, sponsors, meetings, venue, polls, discussions, social activity stream, exhibitors and soon. Working with Hubilo,organizers were able to send emails to attendees ex- plaining the matchmaking process and inviting them to create their respec- tive profiles indicating people from specific areas they are looking for or have to offer. Attendees can then browse these offers and requests and send invitations to meet people at theevent. Vibrant Gujarat Summit, the international business summit conceived by Gujarat Government, experienced the spike in networking with Hubilo’s Event App with thousands of attendees scheduling one-to-one meetings. Networking platform is one of the highest-ranked elements of Hubilo’s Event App, and when we talk to people we always hear, ‘Your networking platform is so great, What makes this networking platform so special is… the algorithm that is far more advanced than anything else we’ve managed to find. - Representative of IndexTB To complement the online matchmaking, Hubilo provides staff at each event who create a dedicated space so people know where to come for their ‘business dates’ and to assist attendees in making connections. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 28
  29. 29. HOW TECHNOLOGY IS HELPING IN SETTING ‘BUSINESS DATES’? We find that it’s an interesting and relevant networking tool for our attend- ees because it creates serendipitous meetings between people who may not otherwise cross paths, but obviously have a lot to learn and offer mutually, - Representative of IndexTB Hence, a networking platform is one of the best ways to optimize network- ing at your event and give your attendees a fruitful and memorable event experience. You know the what’s and how’s, learn why an event networking platform is a worthy investment in the upcomingchapter. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 29
  30. 30. 5 WHY EVENT NETWORKINGPLATFORM IS AN EXCELLENT INVESTMENT? In a recent survey done by Event Manager’s Blog, it surfaced that 22.5per cent of Event Planners are not using technology at all. That might come as a shock since we live in such an updated world, but unfortunately, that’s true. Most of the event planners when asked about what sort of event tech- nologies they have incorporated in their events, replied saying “big flat screens” or “powerpoint projectors.” Those things are obviously important but they are just the tip of the tech- berg we are talking about. Also, many event planners shy away or are uninterested when it comes to using event technology which is either due to lack ofknowledge or ignorance. Due to this, they missout onimportant opportunities. And hence, it makes their event adull and mundane experience. Ina recent article, we talked about 8 technologies that every organizer must embrace. And today we are going to discuss about one of them: event networking platform. Since networking is one of the core reasons why people attend events, it has emerged as a tool which increases the value of your event exponentially. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 30
  31. 31. WHY EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM IS AN EXCELLENT INVESTMENT? Twomostcommonproblemsfaced by attendees at an event: 1.Most of the time, there are so many people at an event that attendees don’t know where to start and whom to approach. And hence, end up mak- ing no connections atall. 2.Attending an event is like a fortune cookie. Nobody knows who all are going to be present at an event and whether or not would they be of same interest. Whatisan event networking platform? Itis an online platform exclusively forregistered attendees. Inother words, it is an independent social network of your event where people can discover each other, interact, set up meetings, share their experiences and muchmore. Whyshouldyou investinan event networking platform? Are you are still confused whether to invest in this event tech tool or not? We have some pretty strong reasons why you should. Check themout! THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 31
  32. 32. WHY EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM IS AN EXCELLENT INVESTMENT? Benefits from Attendee’s perspective: 1.Get to knowthe “correct” people. How many of your attendees actually know about the background of the people attending your event? Not anyone apart from their friends, isn’t it? This is when networking platform comesinto the picture as it helps in discovering new people. Itdoes not only let people connect during the event but before and after the event as well. This serves as a great marketingand engagement tool for the organizersto pro- mote as well as create a buzz around the event, a total win-winsituation! With the help of the advanced filters attendees can actually filter people according to their designation, organization, industry, recently added, interests and people whoviewed their profile. Sounds like a matchmaking process, doesn’t it? It does. The advance algo- rithm suggests every attendee profiles they should be connecting with and meeting at an event based on their interest and designation. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 32
  33. 33. WHY EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM IS AN EXCELLENT INVESTMENT? 2.Break theice. Isn’tit fascinating that half of the attendees are introverts while most of the meetings are designed for extroverts. Extroverts charge themselves by talking to people while introverts get discharged whenthey talk to people. And hence, theyprefer virtual communication over in-personinteraction. Nevertheless, the networking platform helpsboth the introverts and extroverts break the ice by connecting with people firstvirtually. They can introduce themselves without any fear or timidity and let fellow attendee know what they have to offer and what they are looking for. This way organizers will be able to know how well their event is performing in terms of return of objective and whether they have attracted the right people or not. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 33
  34. 34. WHY EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM IS AN EXCELLENT INVESTMENT? 3.Increasethe engagement quotient. Engagement is the key factor which will set your event different from other events. Interactivity is a rising trend in the event industry and more and more emphasis is being given to it from the organizer’s side. Wouldn’t you like to knowwhyand for whichpart your attendees are excited about? Or may be you want opinions regarding your event venue? This is when discussions and polls come to your rescue. Not just that, all your at- tendees can also create forums and polls regarding their doubts and queries, ask questions and post pictures. After all, more the information, easierit will be for you to take the perfect decision. Every organizer would like to keep their audience glued and interactive at an event, isn’t it? Well, this is yoursolution. Enable live engagement during speaker sessions with the help of network- ing platform. Let people ask their questions and share their opinions directly to the speakers. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 34
  35. 35. WHY EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM IS AN EXCELLENT INVESTMENT? 4. Meetingsmade easy. Wouldn’t it be amazingif your attendees could set upmeetings withfel- lowattendees withoutmuchof a hassle? Well, setting up meetings is easier than ever with an eventnetworking platform. Booking meetings with people or texting amessage for appointment is just a click away. Help your attendees in finding the right people who they actuallywant to connect with. Wouldn’t you like if you could set upmeetings at a pre-decided time and agenda? Well, that’s how it works otherwise, right! Let yourattendees expand their horizon of network. After all, your attendee’s network is their net worth. “By selling your event ticket, you convert an audience into your event attendees but by delivering them a worthwhile experience, you make them your event brand advocates.” THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 35
  36. 36. WHY EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM IS AN EXCELLENT INVESTMENT? 5.The Ultimate touch point. Most of the organizers don’t know the potential of keeping in touch with their attendees all through the year. Being an event organizer, tell me how often do you interact with your attendees once the event is over? Most ofthe events that Ihave attended are dead once they are over. No follow up emails or any- thing at all. Does this make a good impression and a strong influence on attendees? Obviously not. Hence, keep your attendees glued to your event not only when it is happening but also before and after the event through the event network- ing platform. Influenceyour attendees or interact withthem and let them know what are you up to or which new event you are coming up with and what you could do better this time. Itnot only buildsthe trust but loyalty towards your brand. You want to know how engaging with your audience helps in creating an amazingevent experience during the event? Check here. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 36
  37. 37. WHY EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM IS AN EXCELLENT INVESTMENT? Benefits from Organizer’s perspective: Have you ever thought of securing sponsors and attracting more exhibitors by providing them with not just a physical space but a digital one as well? Ithink you know the answer by now! Let your attendees connect with the sponsors and exhibitors directly by letting them fix meetings andsorting them according to theirinterest. Secure your sponsors by actually showing them the importance and transparency they will get byconnect- ing with your attendees. Let your exhibitors showcasetheir product and services. Make the navigation easier by showcasing the event venue layout with stall numbers. Also,leverage PushNotifications.Keep your attendees informed about the live event proceedings during the event. With intuitive event analytics, monitor the engagement at each point to keep up the spark ofthe event. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 37
  38. 38. WHY EVENT NETWORKING PLATFORM IS AN EXCELLENT INVESTMENT? From social media shares, engagement ratio, total reach and impression, event analytics will give you in-depth detail about how your event is per- forming. And hence, this is the perfect recipe for keeping the event momentum crisp and lively. Whatshallbe the conclusion? If you don’t provide the technology to let attendees network at your event, they will find the technology and new event to network. Would you like to disappoint your attendees or you would like to give them a wow experience? Choice isyours! THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 38
  39. 39. 6 BONUS CHAPTER:UNCONVENTIONAL WAYS TO CONNECT YOUR EVENT ATTENDEES Most of the event planners make sure that their events are ready for net- working, but it’s not the same with attendees every time. Itmight sound easy but it isn’t always easy to get strangers- or even professional col- leagues to get alongwith one another. Ironically, networking is one of the top 5 reasons why people attend busi- ness events. And hence, since ages, planners have to try their best to ad- dress that interest by hosting cocktail parties or providing networking lounges and whatnot! But times are changing, indeed. There are newer and more effective ways to foster meaningful connections for your attendees. Inthis section, we will discuss some fantastic andout-of-the-box ideas which organizers have implemented and you can surely take some inspiration. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 39
  40. 40. UNCONVENTIONAL WAYS TO CONNECT YOUR EVENT ATTENDEES 1.Share Your Recipe! IMEX,an organization that serves the global meetings, incentive travel,and event industry, took their networking game to the next level. They came up with the concept that love for food is shared by ev- eryone, and therefore arecipe can be a great conversationstarter. The organization invited its 6fellow partners to submit their favorite recipes. All these recipes wereshowcased on the blog andwere available for free public access. It included the contributor’s photo and a quote. The organization also created #IMEXRecipes to receive submissions via Twitter and a dedicated Pinterestpage. Smells like a delicious idea? Go ahead with it! 2.DineWith Strangers Back in 2001,Exhibitors Show noticed that many people who came to their show alone were opting to eat dinner in their hotel rooms rather than going out. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 40
  41. 41. UNCONVENTIONAL WAYS TO CONNECT YOUR EVENT ATTENDEES Hence, they started offering “DinnerwithStrangers.” Organizers make groupreserva- tions at about 6restaurants for each night of the show. You’re wondering how itworks? Well, signup sheets at the conference registration desk list the name ofthe restaurant, type of the food to be served and registration time. Attendees sign up- and they show up! We could never even imagine that wine & dine could be transformed into such a big networkingopportunity. 3.PhotoMap The Exhibitor Show came up with another amazing idea of ‘Photo Map.’ With the idea to connect people from the same geography, The Exhibitor Group invited attendees to attach their photo to a large map to indicate where they are from. The map was used 10years ago and participation increaseseach year, reaching more than 500 photos from 60countries. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 41
  42. 42. UNCONVENTIONAL WAYS TO CONNECT YOUR EVENT ATTENDEES To assist the attendees with photographs, photographers were stationedat the map to take instant thumbnail photos of attendees. Organizers say that the map is an easy conversation-starter as attendees look for others from their area or from cities where they have lived in the past. Put up a big map and give a networking ground to your attendees! 4. Destination Networking The 2013World Mobile Congress held in Barcelonasurprised around 70,000 attendees with 8 new venues created especially to facilitate networking. The “Networking Gardens”were created a Fira Gran Via, a large convention center within the event location itself. To make it simpler for attendees to designate a meeting place, each garden was given a separate name and decor like Mediterranean, Water, Wod,etc. Each one of the gardens had a specific signage which was used throughout event branding. All these gardens were outdoors with special arrangements to tackle un- pleasant weather so that networking doesn’t get affected. The first night of the conference witnessed a cocktail reception for attendees hosted by or- ganizers as an introduction to their new networking concept. Indeed a fresh idea. What do you say? THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 42
  43. 43. UNCONVENTIONAL WAYS TO CONNECT YOUR EVENT ATTENDEES 5.Social Media Contests Metropolitan Events & Production Company used the budding use of Social Media for creating a networking campaign forthe Makeup Showsin Chica- go and Orlando. Organizers asked attendees to upload their pictures with their name, which could be posted, with the #EventHashtag on Twit- ter, Instagram, Tumblr & Face- book. The concept behind this unique concept was to create a sense of community and provideface recognition as people stepped onto the show floor. Organizers sorted the pictures and shared them as well on the show’s social media networks. For the Orlando Show, they turned this practice into a contest by adding a gift bag as a winning prize. Sounds fun? Don’t forget to incorporate it into your next event? 6.Social Networking Apps It’s a smart world and who doesn’t have a smart phone? Everyone, right? So, why not make the smart use ofit? THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 43
  44. 44. UNCONVENTIONAL WAYS TO CONNECT YOUR EVENT ATTENDEES Social Networking Apps is one ofthe hottest trends in the event industry. Event Networking Apps like Hubiloand many others, allow attendees to use their phone and tablets to find each other, schedule meeting and many other things. Most of the apps ask users to sign in using their LinkedIn account, so the systems can classify people and match them up with people of similar interest. Additional features of these apps are more than you can imagine. To know more about them, hold on, we’ve an entire section dedicated to it. 7.PostaPicture At I.B.M Connect in January, the company created a Twitter photo contest to encourage event attendeesto interact with its “I.B.M Champions,”a group of about 75bloggers, clients, analysts and business partner. This group is highly active on social media and peoplewere willing to share their genuine experiences regarding the company products. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 44
  45. 45. UNCONVENTIONAL WAYS TO CONNECT YOUR EVENT ATTENDEES The conference welcomed them with a packet sized yearbook-style page of photos of the I.B.M Champions who were at the event. All the attendees were asked to take a picture with any of them and post it on Twitter using the #IMBChamp to enter thecompetition. The Champion who has the most pictures tweeted was also rewarded with the prize. Organizers met with the Champions before the conference to give them an in-depth understanding of the concept, so that they could reinforce key concepts as they interacted withattendees. Looks like your attendees can have a lot of fun using this concept. 8.Digital Business Cards Exchange of business cards is obviously an integral part of the networking but how about we make it paperless? Iain’tkidding. Have you not yet heard about Poken? Well, it is that technol- ogy that has revolutionized the traditional manners in which the exchange of information isdone. Poken is a tiny device which comes in various sizes andforms including panda bear, a ninja, bumble bee and manymore. But you must be wonderinghow it works actually? THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 45
  46. 46. UNCONVENTIONAL WAYS TO CONNECT YOUR EVENT ATTENDEES Well, it is based on the technology of near-field communication and hence a simple tapping of two Pokens exchanges the information stored on them, such as contact details, social media handles, profession, website, hobbies, etc. Once the event is over, attendees can plug it into their computer’s USB port to see all the people and information collected. These days, it’s even easi- er to integrate the e-cards feature directly with your event app rather than going for a separate tool to do that. Take the GES 2017event app for example that had the ‘v-cards’ feature in- tegrated within. It makes it really easy and convenient for the attendees. 9.Group/CommunityBasedActivities At the Clean the World in Orlando, more than 100attendees from the Pro- fessional Convention ManagementAssociation’sConvening Leaders Con- ference assembled hygiene kits. These kits were later given as a charity to a local homeless shel- ter.Charity Services such as this facilitates an opportunity for event attendees to worktogeth- er towards a commongoal. For events of a larger scale, planners can offer multiple choices to the attendees from which they can choose one at the time of registration. You can seek the help from a local government body to find out information about the organizations that are in looking for any assis- tance. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 46
  47. 47. UNCONVENTIONAL WAYS TO CONNECT YOUR EVENT ATTENDEES 10.Scavenger Hunts Mashable, a global multi-platform media, andentertainment company hosts a two-day conference each spring at Walt Disney World. This event includes about 300+ senior-level executives, manag- ers and head of departments, marketers, tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, ends with a social media based scavengerhunt. Attendees were grouped in a team of 5 and they have to work to identify things inside the des- ignated place based on a set of clues and then post they were asked to post the picture of their findings on Instagram with hashtag #Mashcon. Thus now and again, planners get creative in order to facilitate effective networking at events in order to maximize attendee ROI. After all, Attendee ROI=Event ROI. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 47
  48. 48. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jay Sitapara is an engineer having aninclination towards innovation in technology. Currently, associated with Hubilo, an event-tech startup which aims to change the way how events are organised and people network at events. Jay is particularly passionate about crafting stimulating, resourceful and in-depth guides for Event Planners to keep them updated and acknowledged about latest event industry trends. He is specifically interested in effective use of event technology and social media for greater ROI through innovative thinking andskills. Jay is also a Digital Marketer, Editor, Community Manager and a regular contributor to HubiloBlog. His philic nature is prone to dogs, poetry, coffee, friends and coffee with friends. If you’re on Twitter, say Hello to him @jsitapara and follow his articles onblog.hubilo.com. And Jay says, do not forget to share this Ebook! THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 48
  49. 49. ABOUT THEAUTHOR Hemani Shethis a Mass Communication major andan event enthusiast. She is currently associat- ed with Hubilo, a cloud based event management platform that aims to help event professionals create exceptional events Hemani strives to create resourceful guides that pave way for insight- ful discussion built around various facets of the event industry. She has a keen interest in event technology and how multiple innovations in the field can help transform the way events are created, marketed and executed. Hemani is also a content marketer and a key contributor to Hubilo Blog. Go check out more of her handy articles on blog.hubilo.com. An avid reader, traveller and a movie buff, she is open to conversations on any topic under the sun! Go ahead, say hello to her on twitter @HimaniSheth. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 49
  50. 50. ABOUT THEAUTHOR Hiteshree Dudaniis an event tech enthusiast who has successfully organised many eminentevents. The list includes charity events, youth fests, sem- inars, workshops and a lot more. She is currently associated with the event technology company Hubilo. She is one of the key contributors to the Hubilo Blog. She strives to cre- ate a wide range of useful content for event planners, event techies and event marketers. A dog lover and an avid reader, she is currently pursuing her love of literature an psychology. Go say hello to her on twitter @hiteshreed31. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 50
  51. 51. With a vision of building a one-stop solution for any type of event - may it be a conference, a seminar, a workshop or an off-site event, Hubilo helps you in executing a dynamically interactive event by setting up the entire online management suit required for the event within a few minutes Say goodbye to the mundane task of doing things manually and allow the event management software to do it an easier and much more efficient way. Automate the whole process and get your event powered by Hubilo The value addition that Hubilo offers is equivalent to the services offered by 7vendors, making it a perfect recipe for successful event planning. From event creation, event promotion, event engagement to analytics, we tech- care of allyour event-tech worries. THEHANDYGUIDETOCASHINGINTHECURRENCYOFNETWORKING 51
  52. 52. Enable smarter Networking to maximize ROI and attendee engagement. Step into the new age of event networking with Hubilo’s new and improved community platform for events. AVAILABLE NOW
  53. 53. We Tech-care of yourEvent Contactus MeghnaMittal meghna@hubilo.com +919099197091

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