AH’s client partner, the National Center for Homeopathy (NCH) used two outside-the-box ways to create networking opportunities for their members during their Annual Meeting this past year.
They used both organic connections between members as well as technology fostered connections.
Connecting Through Common Interests
The general session room was set with round tables, each numbered for common interests: pets, TV shows, hobbies, favorite foods, etc. and attendees were given a listing of different tables at registration to choose from; attendees then sat together and conversation sparked, based on the category.
For each day, in a 3-day event, attendees would sit at a new table depending on the categories and common interest. Attendees were encouraged to switch tables each day, and perhaps even each session, to create new and organic interactions. Plus, who doesn’t love any opportunity to talk about “Game of Thrones” and dogs?
Shake & Connect
The inexpensive mobile-app that was used this past year had a networking functionality – Shake and Connect. The idea was that attendees would touch their phone to another person’s with the app open, and information would transfer. This was perfect for both attendees and exhibitors. The app also provided a micro-site to showcase a leader board of who had the most connections. This was shown in our Exhibit Hall and used as a contest to heighten engagement.
Sparking organic conversation with someone can sometimes be difficult, if not within the right setting. Networking is extremely important at conferences for attendees, but for the meeting planner of a non-profit association, who is typically running on a tight budget, it sometimes gets tricky to find fun networking opportunities. These ideas helped increase interaction between attendees.
This blog was written by Jessica Dougherty and Jennifer Corea