When Your Purpose Is to Network

The goal: Prepare a comfortable environment that encourages personal and genuine interactions.

Today’s hyper-mobile world makes the face-time with colleagues, partners and customers at meetings and events more valuable than ever. You want to foster natural interactions by every means possible, from the room design for the initial meet-and-greet to the tools deployed to facilitate social sharing.

A board of directors’ annual lunch, a pre-day to a major conference or an annual meeting of far-flung office chiefs: These each seek to create lasting bonds and connections between the attendees.

Often a Network meeting or event is a component of a larger program, but it still needs its own specialized planning to make sure participants derive the desired benefits.
 

Flow plans will often be a critical component so that participants can move easily between events or people, providing opportunities for interactions that feel spontaneous, not forced. And you’ll want to think about weaving a theme throughout the visuals, sound, and food and drink, to ensure both a memory-inducing and consistent event.

 

EXPERT TIP: Reinvent networking through social media. Encourage attendees to form advanced networks before events (try platforms such as LinkedIn or attendees’ own social networks). Also suggest apps to let them detect others in these networks with whom they share commonalities.—Wayne Williams, Director of Event Management, Atlanta Marriott Marquis