We are now over a year into COVID and I think a lot of us are missing the business interaction and connections we made from in person events. However, when these events resume and I’m hopeful that’s going to be soon, we are going to have a lot of missed time to make up for.
It could be hard to make new connections when those with established relationships are excited to see one another.
I think it would be a neat concept to set up speed meetings, a mimic of speed dating, at an in-person event. It seems during happy hour would be an appropriate time. Leaders of the event could set up 6-foot tables, to help maintain social distancing, and individuals could go from table to table in 5-minute increments to introduce themselves, talk about what they do and leave a business card when appropriate.
This would also set the stage for people who may be less likely to initiate conversation with someone they don’t know. If the event’s speakers were included in the speed meetings, other individuals may be more eager to participate.
Not to mention, if this took place at a two-day event, people might be more inclined to ask questions or participate in discussion once they have a better feel for who is in the room.
I know many of the online virtual platforms have tried to open chat rooms and meeting options, but truth be told, I have not found those to be very useful. Especially when we consider the following:
- Some people don’t stick around online to participate after a day of speakers online.
- Certain producers don’t use internet due to religious reasons limiting their ability to participate.
- Not every company is going to pay to participate in the virtual event.
- Different time zones make a virtual chatroom complicated due to availability.
While my bulleted list above may seem a bit hasty regarding virtual chat rooms, I do believe a virtual speed meeting set up could be of value.
If industry members attending the event knew about it and who else was going to attend without having to search for one another in a chat room I think more people would involve themselves. Especially, if you set it up mid-day in-between presentations, it may create a connection and help people stay engaged.
This could be done in breakout sessions through Skype or other platforms. It could even get interesting and include more than two people in longer segments. Regardless, it would offer an organized way for people to connect and meet one another.