Six degrees of separation is the theory that no one in the world is ever more than six introductions away from you. This premise is what drives corporate events: we want to increase the number of people we know, exponentially increasing the amount of potentially useful business contacts we have. It’s called networking and it’s the main reason anyone goes to events. You might have also heard of a game along the same lines that involves tracing an actor back to Kevin Bacon…
This being said, it’s a surprise that the rise of technology and IT hasn’t yet facilitated a more harmonious networking experience. In the majority of cases, the data is there to be utilised, but no one has, so far, taken the next step. How many times have you heard someone ask for the attendance list at the end of an event? It happens a lot and it’s quite natural to want to follow up with people that you might not have got chance to talk to at the event. It doesn’t need to be like this though.
By booking through software like Eventbrite, guest lists can be extrapolated automatically and illustrated on interactive screens at the event. Each attendee could have their LinkedIn profile displayed so other participants could conduct specific searches by desired areas of expertise. For example, searching for “marketing” has the potential to cut down a room of 200 people to far more manageable numbers. Then all you’d have to do is find the faces. Without talking to 20 random people to find one relevant person, networking becomes a lot more fruitful.
Implementing this idea would require attendees filling in social media details when they buy tickets. Organisers would then have to create a modest app that allowed the LinkedIn profiles to be searched by industry. A lot of the time, events are marred by organisers trying to show off advanced IT equipment or digital tools, when in fact they could simply utilise data already at hand to create something far more innovative and effective. Instead of incorporating highly technical applications into events, a lot of the time applying an innovative slant to existing methods makes for a much better experience.
Voting and surveys are often used at corporate events to encourage interaction. Any event can be spiced up very easily through the use of interactive polling with real-time result visualisation. Attendees at the event could be prompted at the start to access an online polling tool that would convey results live to a big screen. This would help aid the flow of presentations and negate scenarios whereby people have already forgotten the question by the time the results are revealed.
Using technology to augment corporate events is a natural progression and one that will help dispel the image of the dull networking seminar. Fully utilising data already available and introducing simple apps and ideas like live polling, will lead to attendees at events speaking to the right Kevin Bacons, instead of leaving with of a pocket full of irrelevant business cards.
Carl Plant, CEO of bITjAM