Up your networking during workshop downtime

As event hosts and organisers do you focus all your energy on designing the official programme? If so, you’re missing out. Workshops large or small offer plenty of opportunity to network ‘around the edges’ of formal sessions – during coffee breaks, meal times or waiting for sessions to start. Think how many people pass each other in hallways on their way to the next event or stand silent in food queues – so many missed opportunities!

Workshop ‘downtimes’ are ideal moments to network and learn something through activities such as info-rich treasure hunts, quizzes or demos. There are so many clever ways to encourage interaction from the simplest of tools to sophisticated team-building exercises.

Why not try these for starters?

Do you speak X?
Encourage people to get to know each other by advertising the languages they speak using badges. This works well for very large groups; you can produce hundreds of badges with key languages printed on them and a few blank ones for lesser-known languages or dialects. It’s a great way to kick-start conversations. Find out more.

Talk to me…
Use large name tags that have participants’ photo, title and home location, and a line ‘talk to me about’ with three words of their choice. A fun way to break the ice and get some interesting conversations flowing.

Fortune cookies with a twist
Place brightly wrapped fortune cookies on the tables during breaks. Instead of a fortune, write a starter question to get conversations going with the new people you have joined.

Picnic time
Avoid the awkwardness of finding someone to sit next to at mealtimes by offering a picnic. For a group of say 30 people, provide five picnic baskets and tell people to divide up and find a comfortable spot to eat, preferably outdoors. Ideal in the summer but it also works indoors!

Let us know if you’ve tried other ideas, we’d love to hear about them.

Read more…

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