Saturday, February 04, 2012

Hallway Networking Is A Key Part of Conference Learning

Many people profess the best experiences they have when attending conferences, trade shows, conventions and other business gatherings come from the people they meet.  The hallway conversations after a keynote or a concurrent session is often where people process the information and share real life information with their peers.  The act of discussing the experience of the presentation and curriculum allow the shared knowledge to be digested and expanded.  This "hallway networking" is an important part of the learning.

Across industry lines people claim to attend events for the "networking opportunities", but organizers and attendees often forget that this power in connecting with people goes deeper than just collecting business cards or seeking to meet someone who can be of career assistance.  It is the sharing of thoughts, ideas, and best practices that can provide the best education.

Standing in line to have a photo taken with a celebrity speaker is nice, but that line should become a moving classroom where the people quiz each other about the nuggets of knowledge they gained from the session.  Seeking the perspective of others can often open our own minds to new points of view.

Preparation of event "Networking Time" should include learning objectives, as do the other educational sessions.  Helping to educate the audience on how to maximize a conference is part of the success for everyone.

In today's social media and mobile crazy world too many are buried in their iPads and smart-phones and pass on the advantages of enhancing the learning by engaging in meaningful conversations.  Some have developed a misunderstanding and adversity to "networking", and that attitude can undermine the culture of a conference.

Talking to your peers is in itself a wonderful way to learn, connect, and improve the ROI of being at the event.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

(Hat tip to meeting industry consultant and thought leader, Jeff Hurt of Velvet Chainsaw, for inspiring this post after a recent conversation in the hallway at an industry event!).

Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections.

1 comment:

Tahira Endean CMP said...

Thom - I agree so much with this and we simply can't say it enough - we have to keep talking about it until it happens often enough to have a significant impact. At EventCamp Vancouver we built in a "room for thought" and encouraged people to take time and use it for solo reflection or great conversations - I hope to see more and more conferences do this. Also for planners not to be scared of lineups - bar and buffet lines - not really long ones obviously - but short ones can also generate great conversations. Keep spreading the word - hallway time is even more critical as knowledge content is easy to get on many channels but connection time is not.