“Networking is not about collecting contacts. Networking is about 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, I like to interact with and meet new people whenever I go to an event. That stack of business cards received along with the new connections gained across Social Media platforms always give me a sense of satisfaction.
It helps me make the most out of the event I just attended. Social contacts are one of my favourite takeaways 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 industry and get more contacts. Networking is one of the major reasons for which people sign-up for and attends an event.
What exactly is the purpose of networking?
Dictionary defines networking as
“Interaction with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.”
So, what exact purpose do these ‘contacts’ serve?
Be it any business or profession, networking is key to growth and development. 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 fruitful 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 organised solely for networking purposes.
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 Event Networking Platform:
So, what exactly is an event networking platform? It is an online platform designed for registered attendees of an event. It is a platform where attendees can connect and interact with each other prior, during and even after the event. It is one of the most essential event technologies every event planner must embrace.
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. It makes it much easier and much more efficient to network at an event, saving up your time.
The nitty-gritty of the Event 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 and efficient.
There are various kinds of networking platforms in the market. Some distribute stand-alone networking platforms event organisers can use for one particular event.
Networking platforms have taken event networking to a whole new level. With a plethora of features, such platforms can aid event attendees net’work’ their way through the event.
Some of the features of networking platforms currently existing in the market are:
Integrating chatbots with event networking platform 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 fruitful contact to build upon. Only after the conversation can people decide whether or not a face-to-face meeting is required.
Engagement is one of the key features in a networking platform. Apart from its obvious benefits, engagement is one way to increase your networking 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 the ice.
3. Correct B2B matchmaking:
An event will have all sorts of attendees from different domains and with different purposes. One thing that makes such networking platform 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. It is necessary to arrange face-to-face meetings for the attendees despite the chat-bot feature.
Networking platforms facilitate scheduling one on one meeting and develop a schedule based on the same.
5. Maintaining schedule:
Attendees might interact with quite a few fellow attendees. They would want to set up meetings while simultaneously managing sessions that they 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. Document Sharing:
Some networking platforms also facilitate document sharing. People can send and receive files in various formats like a word document or a PDF file.
It is an extremely beneficial feature. Document sharing makes it convenient to exchange proposals, brochures as well as share notes with fellow attendees.
7. Discussion forums/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.
8. Community building:
Community feature in a networking platform has multiple benefits. It makes 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 organisers 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 are constantly evolving and developing, helping the organisers to optimise their event and take it to a whole new level.
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