New to his job, Jim wanders into the event venue excited to shake some hands. He’s hoping to impress by networking to secure business deals. He carefully walks around the hall for hours going from booth to booth introducing himself and chatting. By the end of the day, he’s exhausted and only 3 of the people he’s spoken to today will respond to his follow up email.
Many event organizers will tell you that the value of events comes from networking. Those same event profs will tell you they struggle to structure attendee matchmaking and networking at events. The goal is always the same, to get every bit of efficiency out of their investment. They hope to matchmake with interesting people and get as many quality meetings as possible.
Right Person at the Right Time
While organisers often rely on event apps to help attendees matchmaking it doesn’t typically result in high engagement rates. Standard matchmaking doesn’t get people invested. Relying on people to choose from a menu who they would be interested in meeting requires a lot of work with little pay-off – visitors require a helping hand when it comes to networking.
To get them engaged it is necessary to add value to the potential meeting. By deciding ahead of time what someone is talking about, and why.
The concept of topic-based matchmaking isn’t a new idea. Pre-event attendees select topics they are interested in and get delegated into short specific 1-on-1 meetings with people they know will be interested, because they also chose the same topic.
There are many ways to facilitate topic-based matchmaking at an event. For example, topic-based tables in an area of the venue. Label several tables in an area and have people gather around a particular area they are interested in. Conversation can get going a lot quicker when everyone is on the same page about the topic to discuss.
Event Matchmaking to the Next Level
According to event expert, Robin van Leeuwen of EventBranche topic-based matchmaking starts facilitating valuable meetings before the event starts. Event planners can include one or two questions about an attendee’s interests when they sign-up and have them select topics that are relevant to them. Then it is easy to match people by looking at the answers and linking people with similar answers. Topics can also come from existing data, like industry, company or job titles.
Take smart advantage of the data you have in your CRM system. Your backend likely has a lot of data that can be used to create topic areas for your event. These can be used to laser focus your matchmaking.
Krowden and Topic-Based Matchmaking
Krowden (formerly NetworkTables) uses its platform to organize matchmaking sessions at events. From experience, topic-based matchmaking is the best way for to people engaged with their meetings, and that value is critical to a successful event. Having the availability of sharp, concentrated 1-on-1 matchmaking gives everyone a chance to speak.
Matthijs Otto will teach event professionals the tips and tricks of matchmaking at the next Krowden Connect on June 16th. Read more here.