From grand international trade shows to a simple corporate event, the one thing that drives the attendees to the event is undeniably Networking. Attendees consider networking to be very crucial. If an event provides them with ample networking opportunities, they consider it to be a success.
As event profs, you might have come across a lot of literature that asks you to focus on networking. If you want your event to be successful, you might be advised by many professionals to focus on networking as a part of engagement for your event.
However, 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 understanding their requirements is very crucial. Only after such a thorough analysis can you develop event networking tools that would be beneficial for them all. Let us have a quick look at all of these stakeholders:
The mutually-benefiting relationship between a sponsor and an event organizer 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 in networking. The primary goal of sponsors is usually to network with their potential customers who usually are your attendees.
Companies wish to sponsor events because unlike traditional advertisements, 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 organizing 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 not enough.
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 connect 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 prominent misconception about event speakers. 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 reason. 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 speaker or performers 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.
Attendees are definitely the central focus of event networking. Attendees aim to network with other attendees of your event who might be the professionals from their industry. They also wish to network 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 event stakeholders.
As an organizer, you would have certain motives for hosting the event. You would be having certain goals and ambitions in your mind that you plan to fulfill the event. Whatever they might be, it is essential for you as well to network.
You need to interact with all the other stakeholders of your event in order to fulfill your personal goals. That is why, whenever you are working on the networking tools of your event, always make sure to include yourself 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.
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