5 Steps to a Successful Meet-and-Greet

Setup secrets and inspiration to optimize the meet-and-greet experience

Buzzworthy entertainment is always a big draw—add in the chance to meet said speakers or performers and you can consider registration a done deal. 

For attendees, meet-and-greets are a great opportunity to enhance the event experience and connect with speakers. They can boost early ticket sales and entice even the most skeptical prospective attendees to register for your event. 

But even though meet-and-greets can be a great strategy for planners, they can also be logistical nightmares.

To keep the experience positive for attendees and planners alike, consider these five measures for streamlining the meet-and-greet experience.

1. Define the opportunity. 

Like you, your guest of honor is a busy person. So be sure to work with your featured guest’s point person and settle on the terms of his or her engagement. For example, the guest may have a preference for when the meet-and-greet happens—before or after the speaking engagement, for instance—or a limit for how long he or she is willing to meet each person. Some famous folks also dislike posing for selfies or signing autographs, so clear these details upfront. 

2. Consider the format.

Your VIP’s preferences will also help determine the meet-and-greet setup. A private or semiprivate booth staffed with a photographer might work great for those willing to snap photos with guests. But for speakers who don’t want to pose for the camera, a special VIP opportunity that goes beyond the meet-and-greet, such as a lunch-and-learn or private wine tasting, might be more appropriate. 

3. Make registration a breeze.

Attendees aren’t there for the bureaucracy. Consider a registration process that minimizes on-site headaches. A few time-tested tricks:

  • Allow attendees to preregister through your event website or app.  
  • Set up self-registration stations throughout the event. If materials need to be printed, just make sure your registration software can be connected to a wireless printer. 
  • Have multiple check-in tables to avoid a traffic jam and keep lines short and moving.

4. Manage the wait.

Consider allowing attendees to sign up for specific time slots for the meet-and-greet to minimize long lines and too much wait time, That way, attendees will show up when it’s their turn and not all congregate in one place.

If you think a line will form, though, this is a good opportunity to set up a table to sell related books or other event merchandise to keep guests occupied—and make a sale—while they wait. If appropriate, consider asking your guest of honor to offer signed copies of their new book or album to boost attendee interest.

Above all else, be sure to fashion the line in a way that doesn’t intrude on other areas of the event. The meet-and-greet isn’t the only game in town!

5. Promote, promote, promote.

Once you’ve landed the bragworthy guest, it’s time to tell the world. Include information on the meet-and-greet in pre-meeting marketing materials to help spread the word among potential attendees. And don’t forget to amp up social media. Tag your VIP in posts, plan a social media takeover and have the honoree share on his or her own channels to create buzz in their online community, too.