From Networked Advocacy
In our increasingly wired world, how can you best take advantage of those rare and valuable face-to-face opportunities? We're developing a tidy little strategy around networking events, and here are some evolving thoughts...
Events are excellent opportunities to build traffic and traction around a communications tool. For example, use a listserv to not only circulate information but build conversation around meeting topics.
Use the face-to-face meeting to launch and train people on key communications tools. Hold training breakfasts or happy hours, or create other fun ways to catch people up to speed. Consider orchestrating opportunities to download necessary programs on participant laptops, give people usernames and passwords, etc.
Be ready to offer network support for new ideas and initiatives that emerge from the event. Be sure staff are in place to facilitate these activities.
Gather contact information – for example Skype IDs, Del.icio.us account names, etc. Circulate this information before the end of the event, and make it easily available afterwards.
Face-to-face meetings are excellent opportunities to build social ties. Be sure to schedule in social time, whether its long lunches, happy hours, icebreaker games, field trips or other social opportunities. Consider offering bios and pictures of other attendees.
Use events to strategically build ties between particular audiences. This is particularly important if specific groups within your network are not connected. Consider orchestrating seating arrangements at events or meals, or breaking people into small groups for various exercises.
Use events to map and display information that’s valuable to the network, for example through community or resource maps, surveys, etc. This requires knowing what information your network trades in. Does your network trade in event information, job listings, insider scoop, campaign support, etc.? Use events as opportunities to both gather and offer this information.
Gathering examples of successful partnerships is often difficult, purely due to logistics. Thus use events to gather testimonials, whether they’re written, video or audio. These can be shared during this or other events, on the website, and on other network materials.