How Matchmaking Can Improve Your Networking Events
While many business owners and professionals still think that networking events are the best way to attract the right people to do business with – without the right planning and structure can it really be the most efficient way for people to make better connections?
If you were to ask attendees of your last networking event how many of them followed on to forge good connections or a terrific business deal – the results might not be too encouraging.
Before we look at a different approach, let’s consider why traditional networking events can be ineffective.
- If you set high attendance as the goal for your networking event it’s possible to overlook the profile of your guests. If the people you invite have nothing of value to offer each other it is unlikely to be a successful event.
- Don’t think that having plenty of space, time, good food and drink makes for a great networking session. Okay, guests may enjoy a glass of wine and some tasty nibbles, but without a little forethought into matching the right people to make stronger connections, guests will leave the event with a bundle of business cards and no significant contacts.
- When you arrange a networking event but fail to engage with the guests beforehand they can potentially enter a room full of strangers. This makes networking harder; you have no idea who to target to make connections. A ten minute chat about a football game or the wonders of Paris might well be pleasant, but at the end of the day it’s not what business people are there for.
Providing ways for attendees to make the right connections will make for a more successful event.
Profile Matching takes the guesswork out of networking. Identifying key relationships helps attendees to make connections with those most relevant to their business goals, interests and professional development. For profile matching to work successfully you need to ask for the right information. You can do this using profile matching software and attaching customised questionnaires to their profiles. Ask questions that not only meet the goals of your event, but also questions tailored to their interests and business objectives. An algorithm then calculates a ‘match’ score based on the similarity between attendees; a bit like a dating website without the romance!
Speed B2B Matchmaking events can be really successful networking with a difference. An event like this can take away some of the failure elements of traditional style networking. Getting together businesses and organisations who offer different skills, products, and services within similar industries in this way, gives them the opportunity to find the ideal connections they need to progress in their business. These business speed dating events allow companies and professionals to present themselves and sell their value to others in direct connections. If you’re attending a B2B matchmaking event it is worth taking along some bespoke gift bags. Printed gift bags, promoting your brand and the message you are sending out at the event, will help people to remember you, building connections long after the event has ended. Talk to us at TPBS, we have great ideas for bespoke gift bags!
Face-to-face interaction really is the best method of networking. Yes we know that – but not everyone finds it easy. Introducing yourself with confidence to a stranger at a networking event takes practice, unless you’re one of the lucky few who exude self-confidence wherever you are. Thank goodness for the digital world – so many of us have no problem talking to strangers on social media. Mobile technology gives event planners great opportunities to create virtual interaction between attendees before the event, lessening that social shyness so many of us have. Create a Facebook page, Twitter hashtag, or industry forum; somewhere that attendees can interact before the event. Place regular posts to trigger comments and conversations. This will help with the face-to-face interaction on the day. Continuing the virtual communication after the event will keep on building connections.
If you are holding a focused networking event tailored to promoting a specific industry sector, giving attendees a personalised printed gift bag that re-enforces your branding and message will further connect with your audience. TPBS have a range of printed gift bags to suit any event.
Make your event outstanding and consequential!
Remember that matching begins with understanding the profile of your attendees. Overcoming networking shyness begins with pre-event communication. Creating positive, productive experiences for your attendees will help people to make better connections and build relationships that last well beyond that first meeting.
A little matchmaking can go a long way to having a successful networking event!