Event networking

The best options for event networking:
Your 2020 guide

 Improve your event experience by focusing on what attendees truly value:
strong & relevant connections with each other.

"New connections are one of the most important things that people look for in business seminars. Brella revolutionizes our ability to serve people in that respect."

Hans-Peter Siefen, founder at Nordic Business Forum
Hans-Peter Siefen
Founder at Nordic Business Forum

Event networking:
the essentials

Networking is a core attendance driver. Up to 75% of attendees come to events simply to meet other relevant people.

But why is meeting relevant people so necessary? Here are a few reasons.

Professional development

A strong network helps attendees learn quickly and find support

A more enjoyable experience

The most memorable parts of events are the interesting and unique people we meet

Balance knowledge and business

While event content is excellent for education, attendees also want new business & career opportunities

How can I facilitate event networking?

Which is the best way to organize networking meetings at your event? Well, it depends.
Keep reading to learn about the most common methods.

Free guide: How to choose the right conference networking method >


1. Manually scheduling

By organizing meetings yourself, you save on costs and control who meets with who.

However, it's incredibly time consuming and requires an intimate knowledge of each attendees' goals - difficult at larger events.

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    Pro: high level of control over who meets who

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    Con: Highly time-consuming

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2. Opt-in networking

Invite your attendees to a networking platform instead of uploading a full list. The main benefit is a platform full of active users and higher quality meetings.

However, it requires more work up front to set up the platform, and a strong communications plan to drive attendees there.

Learn more about opt-in networking platforms here >


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    Pro: The most personalized experience for each attendee

    Attendees have the most flexibility and choice on who they meet with
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    Con: Reliant on a strong promotion plan

    For attendees to join, they need to learn about the platform

3. Opt-out networking

Commonly used in event apps. All attendees are available to network with, saving you time inviting them to the platform.

However, not all attendees may participate, which can increase frustration when attendees interact with 'ghost' profiles.

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    Pro: Find all attendees in the list

    Simple to understand the full attendance list
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    Con: Not all attendees will network

    No guarantee that all attendees will take advantage of your tool

4. Hosted Buyer Programs

Typically used at exhibitions and sales-focused events. Attendees register and attend at a severely reduced price in exchange for guaranteed meetings with exhibitors or vendors.

This ensures meetings, but ensuring relevant meetings takes time and effort to organize.

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    Pro: Guaranteed meetings for vendors

    Vendors can meet with potential buyers guaranteed
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    Con: Costly to sponsor attendees

    May be unable to host attendees without outside financial help

5. AI-powered matchmaking

Some tools allow for AI-powered matchmaking, meaning your attendees can get truly relevant matches. It adapts from their interactions to learn the best matches.

However, not all tools have it. It also works best as a long-term plan, since it learns more as attendees continuously use your tool.

Learn more about the potential for AI matchmaking at events here >

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    Pro: It's AI

    The AI does all the matching for you
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    Con: It's scary

    You might be scared to try something cool and new

6. VIP scheduling

Great to offer your VIPs a personal and simplfied networking experience. Also allows a high level of control on who meets with VIPs.

However, it still takes a lot of time to coordinate and requires an intimate knowledge of your VIP goals to avoid irrelevant meetings.

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    Pro: Add personal touch to important relationships

    Give your VIPs a personalized experience
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    Con: Detailed knowledge of VIP needs and goals required

    Irrelevant meetings can really sour the experience for your most important clientele

7. Smart badges

Smart badges work well for lead retrieval and information exchange in 1:1 meetings. The badges connect or are scanned, and the personal details are exchanged.

However, smart badges do little to faciltiate 1:1 meetings, meaning attendees can leave an event with no meetings, causing frustration.

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    Pro: Instant information exchange

    No more business cards needed
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    Con: Heavy burden on attendees to find meetings

    No guarantee that attendees will find the relevant people

Event Networking

Learn from your networking experience

A good event networking experience also provides you with valuable insights
into your attendee base.

Blog: 3 reasons why event networking is worth it >


Meeting metrics

One of the easiest ways to determine success is calculating the meetings organized, and who participated in those meetings.

Some meeting metrics to track include:

Meetings & meeting requests
Sponsor meetings
Peak meeting times

Attendee demographics

Event networking can help you segment your attendee base more effectively and inform you of valuable data points, like:

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    Attendee interests

    Segment your attendee base according to commonly-held interests

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    Event goals

    Discover which portion of your attendee base comes for investment, business, jobs and more
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    Attract sponsors

    Improve your sponsorship prospectus by offering solid data on who attends your events and why.

Real-time meeting metrics

View in real-time how your attendees engage with your networking and your event.

Also determine how many meetings were booked pre-event and at your event itself.

Meeting requests

What's the big deal with AI Matchmaking?

AI matchmaking can improve the event networking experience for your attendees drastically. With the ability to learn with your attendees, it develops as their needs shift to continue offering the best matches.

Why AI matchmaking will take over events >

Give your attendees a networking experience worth coming again for

Discover how Brella makes event networking easy
with its intuitive design, simple set-up and
intent-driven matchmaking, powered by AI.

Brella Matchmaking for Events

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