networking event ideas

40 Fun Ideas To Improve Your Future Networking Events

Need to plan a fun and engaging networking event? These ideas will help you plan a successful event that all of your guests will enjoy and take something away from!
Hubilo
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November 28, 2022

Networking events are the best way to bring people together and improve both personal and professional relationships! Depending on the event, it may be difficult to encourage marketing between your guests. While it’s great to have a small cocktail party for your guests, there may be other ideas that you can use to encourage networking. Whichever way you choose to host a networking event, you can be sure that your guests will meet new people and develop those connections which can last a lifetime!

Creative Networking Ideas For Your Next Event

<span class="mid-size-title">1. Food Stations</span> 

Food is one of the best ways to get people to bond together! They can come together to discuss the food that is being served. By choosing out of the box food stations like a donut wall, an ice cream bar or make your own açai bowls, you can create conversations between your guests. The conversation could begin with talking about the food being served and can turn into a conversation about work and any business opportunities.

<span class="mid-size-title">2. Badge Station</span> 

Badges are important for everyone to wear, as they help other guests know their names and occupations right away! Guests can sit at a table with others, while they design their custom name badges. Be sure to include any important information on the badges, especially their name! Don’t forget to make your name, occupation and company name clear and visible for everyone to read.

<span class="mid-size-title">3. Intelligent Match-Making</span> 

Intelligent networking takes the guesswork out of guests at your event talking to each other! When guests register for the first time for the match-making, they will receive recommendations for who to network with for the first time. Guests can enter their personal information and based on this information, can be paired with others who have the same interests.

<span class="mid-size-title">4. Live Entertainment</span> 

Live entertainment during your events is a fun way for your guests to network and interact with each other! The live entertainment can be a live band, a comedian or a dance performance- anything that will get your guests talking! After the entertainment is over, the guests can talk about how they liked it. These conversations can roll into conversations about work and any business opportunities that may arise. Once the entertainment and the event is over, you can connect with the people you met at the event, using the live entertainment as a conversation starter!

Live entertainment at your event

<span class="mid-size-title">5. Mobile Event App</span> 

The use of a mobile app for your event is one of the best ways to get your guests to network with one another! Your event app is the home for all things associated with the event, such as your tickets, a timeline of events, and even a spot for networking. Before, during and after the event, guests can use the app to interact with other guests at the event. The app can schedule meetings, meet-ups and live chats between guests. Once the event is over, guests can continue the conversations you have created during the event! 

<span class="mid-size-title">6. Games And Icebreakers</span> 

Icebreakers are the best way to, quite literally, break the ice between the event guests! Guests are able to share their name, occupation, company name and any facts they want the rest of the group to know. If you choose to break up your guests into smaller groups, you can ask questions like “what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?” and guests can answer to the best of their ability. Games and icebreakers can break up the tension and anxiety of meeting new people and they allow everyone to relax as they get to know one another!

<span class="mid-size-title">7. Gamification</span> 

Increase your attendee engagement by using gamification! Gamification can be done through your event app, and can bring your guests closer together. There are games where your guests can work together to solve puzzles and win prizes. You can share your gamification on your personal social media channels, which will help to increase traffic and interest in your event!

<span class="mid-size-title">8. Photo Booths</span> 

Photo booths are a wonderful way to have your guests engage with one another while also having fun! Not only will your guests be engaging with one another, but they will also have a memento to remember the event by. The photo booth can come with props and costumes, which can unveil the silly side of your guests. You can take pictures with one other person, or try to fit as many people into the photo booth as possible. The pictures you take away from the event will remind you of the event and may also serve as a reminder of all of the people you met at the event!

Encourage guest interaction with a photo booth

<span class="mid-size-title">9. Social Media Exchange</span> 

There may be several people you meet at events, and it may be difficult to keep track of all of them. While at your event, be sure to connect with others on social media! The social media platforms you can connect on can be Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. You will be able to stay in touch with everyone you meet long after the event is over. Guests, when they connect with others on social media, will be able to celebrate the wins of both their personal and professional lives! 

<span class="mid-size-title">10. Networking-Only Area</span> 

At your event, set up an area of the event space that is for networking only to encourage everyone to come together and meet new people. Guests will see that there are others within the space and will be more likely to walk up to them and strike up a conversation. By using incentives like food and drink, this will invite guests to the area to meet new people and connect.

<span class="mid-size-title">11. Themed Networking Event</span> 

A theme for any event helps tie the event together! It allows your guests to have fun and relax, while participating in the event theme. Themes can include a luau, a sports theme or even a 1970’s disco theme! Guests can attend in their best attire, which will spark conversations between guests. If you want the participation for the themed event to be high, announce a contest for the most spirited to have your guests pulling out all the stops in order to win the prize. 

<span class="mid-size-title">12. Speed Networking</span> 

Speed networking has the potential for guests to meet as many other guests as possible! Event hosts can set up tables and chairs while guests take a spot at the tables. With the use of a timer and a bell, guests can move around the room, meeting as many guests as they can. Set a timer for 5 minutes, as this is the perfect amount of time for guests to share their name and occupation, and any other information they want to share. Be sure to connect with one another on social media or LinkedIn, as you can connect once the event is over!

<span class="mid-size-title">13. Round Tables</span> 

Round tables are where guests can physically sit at a round table while they meet their peers. Guests can share ideas and thoughts, while also meeting new people! It gives guests the opportunity to meet one another face to face, instead of sitting behind a computer screen.

<span class="mid-size-title">14. Scavenger Hunts</span> 

Scavenger hunts are a great way to get everyone up and moving, while working together to find the items on the list! Guests can split up into teams, and even use a QR code to obtain the list of items. Guests can either take a photo of the items they found, or actually collect the items, depending on what they are. When guests work together, they can create connections that will last long after the scavenger hunt is over!

<span class="mid-size-title">15. Vision Boards</span> 

Creating a vision board is a fun way to let your guests get creative with what they see in their future! The vision boards can be what the guests hope to gain out of the event, or what they hope to achieve within their professional career. Split your guests into smaller groups, so everyone has a chance to speak about what they are creating on their vision board. Once everyone has created their vision board, hang them up in a certain area so that they can be viewed by everyone!

<span class="mid-size-title">16. Virtual Dinner Party</span> 

Sometimes, networking events have to be done virtually, but this doesn’t mean your guests can’t network! By hosting a virtual dinner party, your guests can cook their favorite meals while chatting with their peers. Guests can talk to others about what they are making for dinner and maybe even gain new dinner ideas! Once everyone is done cooking, they can share a meal together while talking about any subject that comes up.

<span class="mid-size-title">17. Audio-Only Discussions</span> 

Audio rooms help guests network with one another, as they can talk about their favorite interests or subjects! Audio-only rooms are inexpensive to plan, and some guests won’t feel the pressure to turn on their camera and be face to face with others. You will still be connecting with others while you take a break from face-to-face interaction.

<span class="mid-size-title">18. Wellbeing Activities</span> 

Events have the ability to take a toll on your guests, especially if they are all day events. By scheduling wellbeing activities, your guests can take a break from all the action and relax. By offering yoga or meditation sessions, healthy snacks and drinks and even massages, your guests can relax while still networking with others. Guests can chat about what they enjoyed about the wellbeing activities and what they would like to see at any future events. 

<span class="mid-size-title">19. Trivia Nights</span> 

Trivia nights are both fun and competitive for the guests! Guests can split up into teams and even create a unique team name. From there, they can answer all types of questions, ranging from sports, music and tv questions. For every question they answer correctly, they get a point, and whichever team has the most points at the end, wins the game! Guests can connect and work together to answer the questions, while being able to relax and be themselves.

<span class="mid-size-title">20. Social Media</span> 

Most everybody has at least one form of social media nowadays, so it’s the best way to connect your guests! Encourage everyone to share their favorite social media platform, and guests can connect on that social media. You can connect during the event and once it’s over, you can continue to interact with the people you met at the event!

<span class="mid-size-title">21. Host A Tik Tok Party</span> 

Hosting a tiktok party

Tik Tok has completely taken over social media, and it is very popular for companies to have their own Tik Tok account! Companies can have their guests do a Tik Tok dance at the event, and post the video to the popular social media platform. From there, guests are able to share the video on their own social media, which will create a buzz around the company as well as the event itself.

<span class="mid-size-title">22. Rent A Unique Venue</span> 

Depending on the type of event you’re having, you may want to rent a unique venue! The unique venue can create a buzz between your guests, which is the beginning of the networking phase. Research venues that may have a gorgeous rooftop view, a venue with a fun spot to take pictures or a venue that has a kitchen where a food networking event could take place! Keep in mind that you may have a larger or a smaller audience attending, so try to choose a venue that will support all of the people coming to your networking event.

<span class="mid-size-title">23. Make Room For Introverts</span> 

There may be people attending your event that aren’t as social as the others. If this is the case, cater to their needs! Be sure to provide smaller rooms for introverts to go to if they wish to network with people without being surrounded by dozens of other people. Sometimes during these events, people need a moment to regroup and recharge their social batteries. By creating these rooms for people to use to network in a more quiet setting, it shows your guests you care about them and their wellbeing. 

<span class="mid-size-title">24. Host A Twitter Party</span> 

Companies can use their networking event as a way to showcase their company on Twitter! You can create a hashtag for your event, and encourage your guests to use this hashtag. When guests search through the hashtag, they can become connected with other guests of the event! Feel free to share any pictures or videos on Twitter, so everybody attending the party can view them and connect.

<span class="mid-size-title">25. Start A Mastermind Group</span> 

There may be some people who struggle to network at your events, and that’s okay! By creating a mastermind group, you can have peers mentor other peers and help them solve any problems they may have. You can begin to connect with others as well as have conversations about the event, meeting new people or just networking in general.

<span class="mid-size-title">26. Host A Panel Or Forum</span> 

Events with a panel are a successful way to network, as it gives the guests a chance to ask questions and interact with others! Panel discussions have the opportunity for everyone to engage in a large group discussion. There may be guests who chat with other guests, within the discussion, who may never have talked to each other for the entirety of the event.

<span class="mid-size-title">27. Plan An Interactive Salon</span> 

Salons, within the corporate world, aren’t a space where you give each other a haircut and a shampooing. Salons refer back to an 18th century panel type gathering where your guests can deliver a speech and then answer questions from the audience! You can choose to host this type of networking event in a cool and comfortable atmosphere, with couches and oversized chairs, so everybody can be comfortable!

<span class="mid-size-title">28. Throw A Silent Disco</span> 

Silent discos are usually an event where people put on their headphones, listen to music and dance! However, this can be turned into a networking event by taking off your headphones! Guests can still dance along to the music while meeting people out on the dance floor. Be sure to keep the music kept at a low volume so guests won’t have to strain their voice by talking over the music!

<span class="mid-size-title">29. Host A BBQ Or Pool Party</span> 

Everybody loves a pool party! If you or one of the event organizers has a pool, invite everybody over for a day of fun in the sun. Encourage everyone to bring their swimsuits and appetites as they network around the pool. As your guests are mingling with one another, take pictures and videos that can be used as marketing for next year’s event.

<span class="mid-size-title">30. Offer A Photo Session</span> 

By offering a photo session, your guests can have the opportunity to all have a professional headshot. Hire a professional photographer to take headshots of everybody, and these pictures can be used on their LinkedIn page or on their email signature. If you want to be more casual with the photos, the photographer can take candid photos of the event and the photos can be used as marketing!

<span class="mid-size-title">31. Competitive Networking</span> 

At the beginning of the event, express to your guests that there is a contest for who can network with the most people! This will encourage your guests to try and meet as many people as possible! Your guests will need to prove how many people they met by making a list of everyone they met, and whoever has the longest list of names wins the contests! This makes the networking between the guests fun and a little competitive!

<span class="mid-size-title">32. Graffiti Wall</span> 

Your guests can have a fun time while letting their creative side shine through! An interactive wall that your guests can draw on will open up the conversation with your guests. Encourage your guests to write a word or phrase that represents them, and see if more than one guest writes down the same word. If this is the case, find the people who wrote the same words and encourage them to meet each other.

<span class="mid-size-title">33. Secret Question</span> 

One icebreaker game that typically isn’t played is secret question! You can provide each guest with a Post It and tell them to write a question on it. Then, once all the questions have been collected, event organizers can read the question out loud and everyone can have a chance to answer the question. The questions asked by the guests are limitless, and it gives everybody a chance to get to know each other better.

<span class="mid-size-title">34. Collect Business Cards</span> 

Collecting business cards at networking events

Much like competitive networking, you can turn this into a game! Encourage each guest to bring business cards to the event to be used for a game. When the networking time begins, encourage guests to get a business card from everybody they talk to. Once the networking time is over, have everybody count their business cards from other people. Whoever has the most business cards from other people is the winner!

<span class="mid-size-title">35. Invite A Guest Speaker</span> 

Guest speakers are a great way to get your guests talking! The guest speaker can come in and speak about a variety of topics, all relating to your event. Once the guest speaker is done, the guests can talk to one another about what the guest speaker had to say. Once they connect after the event is over, they can refer back to the guest speaker and be reminded of the event.

<span class="mid-size-title">36. Virtual Happy Hour</span> 

Virtual happy hours became wildly popular during the pandemic! People from all types of companies would gather after work hours and have a drink together. You can still do this while encouraging your guests to network. Attendees can learn a bit more about the personal and professional lives of one another, and they can get a better understanding of who their peers are outside of the workplace!

<span class="mid-size-title">37. Webinars Or Workshops</span> 

Webinars help employees learn a new skill or have a discussion with the host of the webinar! By using this as your networking event, your guests can talk to each other about the skills they learned during the webinar! Workshops can also have your guests learning something new that they can put on their resumé. Once the workshop or webinar is over, guests can have something to refer to as they head back into the workplace. 

<span class="mid-size-title">38. Wine, Beer Or Food Tasting</span> 

Tastings of all kinds are a great way to gather everyone and network together over food and drink. You can hire a catering company to come in and provide a few different types of food and drink, making sure that there is something for everyone! Keep in mind that not everybody attending your event drinks alcohol, so be sure to have non-alcoholic beverages. Another thing to keep in mind is any food allergies that your guests may have and be accommodating of that. 

<span class="mid-size-title">39. Professional Conferences Or Work Summit</span> 

Conferences are gatherings of hundreds of people, which is a great way to network with all kinds of people! By attending these conferences, you can meet people who can help your professional career. Keep in mind that you will most likely not be able to meet every single person at the conference or work summit, but you should try to meet as many as you can- you never know who you might meet and what connections they have for you or vice versa. 

<span class="mid-size-title">40. Coffee Hours</span> 

Most everybody likes coffee, and most of us drink coffee throughout the day! Coffee hours are relaxed and laid back and guests can drink their favorite coffee while chatting with their colleagues. Be sure to connect on social media with the people you meet at the coffee hour, and you may be able to have coffee together outside of the workplace!

<span class="mid-size-title">Conclusion</span> 

Networking helps your guests meet all kinds of new people, and the opportunities that can come from these networking events are endless! Once you connect with people and you become familiar with them, you may become friends outside of the workplace! When it comes to the business world, one of you may have a new business idea or thought that could potentially turn into something successful for everyone! Networking events can be any kind of gathering including food, music or just a round table full of people! Whichever way you choose to host your networking event, you can be sure that your guests are going to meet new people and be connected for long after the event is over.

Author
Hubilo

Hubilo is the event professional’s event platform for live, hybrid, and virtual events. Founded over 5 years ago to revolutionize engagement at in-person events, the company makes it easy to bring people together anywhere, anytime. Hubilo’s powerful engagement features, personal client experience team, and custom branding tools have helped create over 12K events and counting. Headquartered in Bangalore and San Francisco, Hubilo’s nearly 400 employees are dedicated to co-creating the world’s most important events: yours.

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