Finding a good networking event can be hit or miss. Each attendee goes for a different purpose and the event organizers aren’t prepared to satisfy everyone’s expectations. Whether it’s promoting a business, meeting potential employers, creating awareness for the brand, or connecting with someone in the hopes of developing a friendship, each attendee goes for their own reason. To make events a more personalized experience, event planners could use the attendee’s profiles to map out the perfect event. The principles of experience design naturally lend themselves to the process of event planning, here’s my thoughts on the topic.
The attendee profile can vary from each industry but everyone’s experience is effected by two factors:
Social factors in networking are those that benefit the attendee’s career, such as access to career opportunities, gaining knowledge, and receiving advice/support. These can change over time. Event planners need to be aware of these benefits and schedule networking events that best meet the needs of the current attendees. How the attendees converse and interact with each other are also important to consider. Some people may not like speaking in groups, while others enjoy activities that break the ice and get people talking. The opportunity to create meaningful conversations and connect with other like-minded professionals will inspire guests to attend these networking events in the first place.
The event space and requirements of the event are critical for successful networking events. Selecting the right venue can seriously make or break an event. Taking into context the attendee’s needs, different spaces are required to do different things. For the tech industry you’d want access to fast internet as well as plenty of space for laptops to be used. For graphic designers you’d want plenty of wall space for designs and good lighting. Each situation demands the proper space, otherwise the event is ruined before anyone even sees it.
Determining Networking Personas
According to 2018 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, there are 6 types of common event attendees: the knowledge seeker, the tech-savvy networker, the inspiration seeker, the social butterfly, the reluctant attendee, and the brand fanatic. Some of these attendee personas are very applicable to networking events since they are speaking to a similar audience. Based on this forecast, and my discussions with colleagues, here are the common networking attendee personas and their pain points.
The Knowledge Seeker
Networking Journey Maps
The goal of this is to understand common networking attendees, their journey, pain points and how to turn them into positive experiences.
Event planners miss the social aspect of networking events and practice the one-size-fits-all approach. The experience needs to be curated for each guest, to get them engaged with the content and help them to leave satisfied. Networking should feel natural and the event should help guests to achieve their networking goals. Based on the common networker personas, I’ve gathered some suggestions to make networking events more engaging throughout this sample networking agenda.