Connecting with others is a natural thing for us as we started out doing this since kindergarten. However, we have unlearned many of these skills, making networking quite a jump out of your comfort zone. On one hand, many people don't like networking. On the other hand, it can be extremely valuable, and it's one of the main reason people attend meetings and events. How can event planners make the networking experience smoother?
Most articles about networking are aimed at giving attendees a pep talk so they have enough ammo to take control of their networking experience. Often, the reason people dislike networking is that it's unstructured and requires them to take social risks. And just like in dating, no one wants to really do that! This is also one of the reasons we have developed Jungo. Having lower risk of having the wrong match and a higher chance of success is more fun. In this way event planners can make networking more comfortable by mitigating the risks for attendees.
Be A Host
Hosting an event is about more than gathering a group of people and letting them figure it out. If you're going to host an event, host it. A good hosts introduces their guests to one another. If your event is small, maybe you introduce guests via email before the event begins and ask them to find each other once they're in person. But with bigger event, using the latest technology can provide a better solution. Connecting people with a shared purpose helps the conversation not to feel as fragile or risky as it otherwise might.
Another idea is to give attendees a prompt to help them start talking to each other. This can be anything, as long as it starts conversation. If you're hosting a happy hour after a panel discussion, maybe you ask attendees to talk about what they found most interesting during the panel. Whatever! As long as it helps attendees begin a conversation with one another without having to talk about the weather."