6 Ways How LinkedIn Groups Can Benefit Event Organizers, Meeting Planners and Association Managers

December 2, 2009

Many (professional) organisations have a hard time to keep their organisation interesting enough for their members and are also continuously looking to attract new members.

Starting your own LinkedIn Group can both add to the value of the membership and attract more members in many ways:

1. An online presence next to events will help members to keep in touch between meetings.

2. Members who can’t attend many meetings will still be able to contact each other.

3. The LinkedIn Group is an extra platform to help each other and to discuss trends.

4. Some potential members might have never heard of your organisation. They can get in touch with you and become a member of your organisation after finding the LinkedIn Group.

5. It is a good and free alternative to a forum on your own website. Many organisations have a hard time building a successful community because they don’t have a critical mass of people who participate in discussions. As a result people won’t visit the forum anymore, the negative spiral continues and they also hardly ever visit the website anymore. Since people use LinkedIn also to connect with other people and to build their network with other people than the members of your organisation they keep using LinkedIn and once in a while visit the LinkedIn Group.

6. Free membership of the LinkedIn Group might generate interest in a (paid) membership for events.

To your success !

Jan

PS: this is an excerpt from the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (of in het Nederlands: Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken). Make sure you download your FREE light version.


How Organizers Can Help The Participants To Feel More Comfortable At Their Events

June 6, 2009

The last few weeks I have been giving tips about how to avoid the uncomfortable feeling that many people have when they attend a networking event.

This week another tip, but this time for the organizers.

How can they help the participants to their event to feel more comfortable?

A golden tip: have a welcoming committee.

This is a group of people whose only task is to greet people and ask them who they want to talk to. (So they can NOT do the registration, take care of the speaker, take care of the catering,…)

I also encourage organisations to give everybody the list of participants.

This won’t only help the participants themselves, but also the welcoming committee.

The welcoming committee can ask the participants the question: “Who of these people do you want to meet?” And then introduce them to each other.

This is very simple to do and it will tremendously help the participants. The consequence: they will rate the event much higher and will be much more inclined to come back the next time and maybe even bring some more guests.

Have a great networking day !

Jan

Jan Vermeiren is the founder of Networking Coach and author of the networking books Let’s Connect! and How to REALLY use LinkedIn (both in English and Dutch)


Networking Tip: Have a Host(ess) Attitude

March 7, 2009

Many people have a hard time making contact with other people at a cocktail drink, conference, reception or other networking event.

 One of the best tips to feel more comfortable is to adapt a host(ess) attitude.

 What do I mean by that?

 What do you do when you are throwing a birthday party and you are the host of the evening? You welcome people, you make them feel comfortable, you provide them with drinks and food and you introduce them to each other. You don’t wait for them to ask you for something, but you take an active approach. You focus on the well-being of others, not your own. And you feel great by doing this.

 Just as Donna Fisher advices in “Professional Networking for Dummies” I also recommend that you do the same at networking events, even when you are not the organiser. What you can do is radiate a “host(ess) attitude”. If you focus on playing an active role at the event, people will be grateful. You will have fun, be appreciated and feel valuable.

 So play the host(ess) at the next event by doing the following:

  • Greet people. Even if you don’t talk with them, nod and give them a genuine smile.
  • Make people feel comfortable. Give them your full attention and listen to their stories.
  • Get them something to drink or eat. Do this yourself or call the waiter.
  • Connect them with other people by introducing them in a way that is compelling for both of them.

To your networking success !

 Jan

 Jan Vermeiren, founder of Networking Coach and networking speaker.


Notworking

September 23, 2007

One of the advantages of being a public speaker is that I am invited to several interesting locations.

A week ago Chronos International hired me to give a three hour networking workshop for their customers and candidates in the Claridge in Brussels.

The reason they did this was that after my workshop there was a Notworking party where the participants of the workshop could participate in. This Notworking party is a kind of after-work party in three parts:
– Networking: 19.00-21.00 (making new business contacts and maintaining existing relationships)
– Notworking: 21.00-23.00 (relaxing)
– Niteworking: 23.00-03.00 (dancing and party)

The interesting thing about this concept is that there is a tool that participants can use before and during the event to get in touch with each other. This tool is a simple, but effective networking platform (comparable to LinkedIn, Ecademy, Xing or Ryze) that is focused on connecting people on the venue itself.

There are PC’s on the spot so you can use the tool to connect with other members who are also present. And you can see who is linked to whom, so it becomes very easy to ask to be introduced by someone you know to another participant. This allows the members to network very effectively and efficiently !

If you work or live in Brussels, be sure to check out one of their notworking events. You can already start to read more at the website of Notworking.

Quentin Pirlot, the co-founder of Notworking, told me that their focus was on bringing people in larger cities together and that they developed the software tool to facilitate the networking, being unaware of the existence of many online business networks. The real differentiator is that the notworking concept is about bringing people from a big city together and not creating a worldwide business community.

The concept has already raised interest from people who want to start with the Notworking concept in Luxemburg and Geneve. I think many other cities will follow because it is a very strong concept !

Have a great networking day !

Jan


Networking and sponsorships

February 17, 2007

Many organisations sponsor sports or cultural events in order to maintain their business relationships.

For example in Belgium many organisations have business seats for soccer games.
The problem is that for many games they have lots of difficulties to get enough people interested to fill all the seats they have.

The reason is that the same people are invited by many organisations for the same soccer game. And by other organisations for other events. Next to that the people who are invited are most of the time very busy people who want to spend some quality time with their family as well.

So why would they accept the invitation of a particular organisation, thus preferring it over the other organisations and their family?

This is a question that many organisations don’t think about.

The solution is rather simple: make sure they encounter at that event people they are interested in.

This can start very easy: as a host you can introduce guests to each other. Connect them with each other. Give them also a topic to talk about. If you see business opportunities for them by working together, mention it. They might not have seen this themselves.

I know this is a very simple solution, but I almost never see it applied in practice. What I DO see is people from the same company (most of the time the hosts) talk to each other. This is a waste of time and money.

Be a good host and introduce and connect people. Do this very consequently the next event and you will immediately experience what a difference it can make.

Have a great networking day !

Jan


Don’t use lanyards at your events

January 20, 2007

It is the time of the year for business receptions and other functions.

If you organise one yourself, please refrain from going with the trend to use lanyards for the name tags of the participants.
(Lanyards are the long cords that people first used to hang around their neck with their keys attached to it)

Why?

These are the reasons:

1) The name tag hangs around people’s belly button (or lower!). This makes it hard to read because it is further away from our eyes.
2) Some people are also embarrassed to look at another person’s belly or lower parts of the body. So they don’t look. This handicaps many people who need to read the name in order to remember it better.
3) Older people might be resistant to wear them especially when they come in flashy or fluo colours.
4) Murphy’s Law number 342: “the name tag will always turn with the name towards your belly“. So people can’t read your name and you can’t read the other person’s name. (So what’s the use of using those things anyway? ;-))

So please use “old-fashioned” name tags instead of the lanyards. And don’t overdo it. I understand that sponsors want some visibility in return for their money. But give them this visibility in other ways than putting their logo in large on the name tags.

My advice is to only mention the name and organisation of the participant on the name tag. So you can make the characters big enough that everybody can read them, even people who need glasses.

The goal still has to be that the name tags makes it easier for people to connect and not the other way around, right?

To your networking success !

Jan


Network concept: t-shirts

April 15, 2006

A concept to help people to get each other to find common stuff in a faster and fun way is to use t-shirts.

I learned this concept from a post by Jesper Kjaergaard on Ecademy. So; thanks Jesper!

How does it work?

You hand out white t-shirts to the participants. Then you ask them to write words on it. These words can be hobbies, sports, business related topics or other interests.

Then you ask them to put on the t-shirt (use XXL so they can put the t-shirt over their clothes) and walk around. They can read each others’ words and discover the things they have in common. They mostly start slowly, but after a while it’s hard to stop them!

It’s great fun and it works, even in the more “stiff” environments. Try it on your next event !

Jan


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