Going beyond the event-wide 3-minute speed networking, set a topic for extra engagement.
Sparking conversation among participants is a critical part of virtual events, and, at Grip, we don't see event networking as just one feature but a range of experiences. Today we're adding a new way to spark conversations amongst participants, topic-based virtual speed networking.
Topic-Based as opposed to Event-Based
The critical part of speed networking is to make it easy for people to connect.
However, sometimes, speed networking in virtual events can feel too random since they are generally event wide speed networking experiences.
We wanted to make sure an organiser could have multiple speed networking sessions within a single event with different topics.
This results in a more focused experience and clear expectations from people why they should be attending a speed networking session and what they can get out of it.
We found that speed networking worked really well for us–over 60% of accepted meetings were instigated by the session. One of our sponsors commented on how much fun the session was and was very grateful that it put him in touch with an attendee that he had been keen to meet at our event. Thank you, Grip team!
Miranda Woods, Digital Delivery Manager, TechForge
Round-Robin or Two-Sided Matching
Depending on the goal and topic of the speed networking session, organisers can choose to set them up with two matching styles, other as 'round robin' matching resulting in all participants being matched. Or with two-sided matching, for example, if you only want Buyers and Suppliers to meet.
Why are conversations only 3 minutes?
Currently, speed networking is limited to 200 people, and meetings are always 3 minutes. Time is limited because we want to make sure people don't have to wait too long for their next meeting.
For example, let's say you have 100 people in a two-sided matching speed networking session. This number of people would results in 50 conversations going on at any time, which means in a perfect world, one meeting finishes every 3.6 seconds (180 seconds / 50 conversations). Over time, there might be some people you've already met and others that decide to take a break after a meeting. Therefore, if you have to wait for the 4th meeting to finish, this would mean a waiting time of 14.4 seconds. Based on our experience, a waiting time of under 20 seconds is acceptable in the user experience for people to catch a break and drink their coffee!
If we would increase the length of a speed networking meeting to 6 minutes, for example, with the same 100 people, the waiting time in the same scenario is 28.8 seconds. A bit too long for a great user experience.
Sponsored Speed Networking Sessions
A sponsored speed networking session is a unique opportunity to drive leads and brand visibility for a particular company.
First of all, there is an excellent story for the exhibitor to be the 'connector of an industry' by sponsoring a speed networking session.
Second, all people who participate in the speed networking session will show up in the sponsor's inbound leads section—enabling the sponsor to follow up with participants to schedule a meeting or request to chat.
Creating a two-sided speed networking session only accessible for representatives of a particular company and visitors can result in an even more powerful experience, where visitors can be matched with a random representative of one specific company. Combining this with a sponsored content session could be a powerful way to convert sponsored content by visitors into 1:1 meetings with exhibitor representatives.
Continue the Conversation with Ease
Networking doesn't stop when the speed networking session is over. See a summary of all the people you met and request a follow-up meeting or exchange contact details to continue the conversation off-platform.
Speed Networking for Hybrid Events
Speed networking sessions can be held as part of a virtual event and can also be used to lead up to an in-person event in a hybrid experience.
You can empower attendees to attend a speed networking session to have an introductory meeting or schedule a longer in-person appointment with the people you want to spend increased time talking to at the event.
From that perspective, topic-based speed networking sessions can further increase the Return on Time of attending in-person events. Something that we feel is very exciting!
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