At events and conferences, I make wild and crazy assumptions of being catapulted amongst like-minded peers. By virtue of a collective attendance and a shared commonality, networking will be an open playing field for me? Wrong.

Even as an English woman mildly wired for stoicism, I am often among a small few attendees (particularly at social media conferences) that are keen to be a little bit…social.

Making real connections at events, is equally as insightful as the information we are seeking.

Perhaps we are shy? Perhaps we have become so adept at connecting socially through digital, that we have forgotten how to connect socially through physical. Perhaps we don’t perceive our peers to be a ‘target audience’?  It’s more ‘meh’ than meet ups.

Out of 5,000 attendees, 12 of us connected via LinkedIn. # No.1 most important social platform for B2B marketers. Go figure.

Attending the NAC Global tour recently, headlined by Gary Vaynerchuck and Grant Cardone, 70% of the room raised their hands and identified as business owners. With my LinkedIn ‘Find Nearby’ beacon on, I furiously beamed out to the world. But no one was there. By the end of the day, twelve LinkedIn disciples had found each other. It felt like a new age Bilderberg group. Out of 5,000 people, we were a little leap for B2B networking.

The conundrum persisted. We are all here for insights in how to better connect with a customer, client or audience through the digital space. Cough, experiences. We are all here listening to ‘industry leaders’ in how to make an emotive human connection through a two-dimensional platform. Cough, did someone say content?  So, why are we missing the opportunity to physically connect with 5,000 people in a room that we have immediate access to?

Gary Vee took to the stage and affirmed: mobile devices are primary living, the real world is now secondary.

Even MC Jules Lund, encouraged us to chat to our neighbours. This event was an influencers insta-dream.

You had me at ‘hello’. 

It’s just one word.

For the dinosaur breed that I am and those that like to chat with eye contact, here are a few ideas and APP’s to instigate the comeback of ‘hello’ at events.

LinkedIn ‘Find nearby’. Earth to people.

This is a no brainer. Any LinkedIn profile with this feature activated, can connect to other members at an event. Find your tribe. It’s easy people.

  • In Settings on your phone, switch Bluetooth on.
  • In LinkedIn go to your Profile.
  • Go to My Network (the people icon at the bottom of the screen).
  • Tap ‘Find Nearby’ to ON– and invite, connect, message.

Shapr. B2B + Bumble.

B2B’s version of online dating. View a photo, a short work profile, a persons interests, km’s from your geo and links to website & LinkedIn profile. If Shapr continues to grow in popularity, we will work the room in no time.

Swipe left or right to match with intent; find mentors, become a mentor, make new friends, recruitment (talent connector search feature) or meet people with similar aspirations. A great feature is the criteria for ‘how we can meet’; coffee, after work, voice call, dinner, weekends- at an event.

ABBY BCR. Gotta love a business card.

Forever a diehard fan of the tangible; the feel, the form, the old school. But, give me a way not to type contacts manually…and I’m in.

This APP scans business cards on the fly, and imports all details immediately into contacts. Go on, say hello and flash your scanner.

LinkedIn ‘QR’ code. Digital business card.

Worth noting, if you don’t carry business cards. Have your LinkedIn profile handy, anywhere you go, with a ‘saved’ QR code on the front mobile screen. When you finally ‘make contact’ with a real human, scan away.

  • Next to your profile photo, within the search bar, is a QR code icon far right. Tap on it, select ‘my code’ and it will generate your unique QR code.
  • I save mine to photo’s, screenshot and use as wallpaper at an event.

QR Reader. Brand in pocket.

QR codes are hotly debated as to whether relevant or redundant. Considering cameras on our phones, recognize QR codes, it’s worth using them to our advantage.

QR Reader’s ‘create a code’ serves a purpose networking on behalf of a Brand. Immediately link a new contact to a website, landing page, facebook profile, Instagram, youTube, GoogleDrive, Dropbox account, iCloud, free PDF download, coupon, ticket booking platform- all from your pocket over a coffee.

  • QR Reader App– on the main screen at the bottom. Tap ‘Creator’
  • Choose from a list of platforms or profiles. Enter your URL/ details into the fields, and create.
  • Choose your code and colour. Save and share.

Go to camera settings and make sure you have QR Scan switched on. Try our blue QR code. Interactive Q & A.

At a Hootsuite ‘Future of Social’ event recently, this APP revolutionized the Q & A session; shortcutting long winded subjective questioning, crowdsourcing the best questions from the audience and getting to know each other.

Yes, no mic swapping, no stand up. 

Meet the most active attendees, drive analytics to determine popular topics and understand audience behaviour.

Whova. 185 meet-ups at a single event.

Whova is an Award winning mobile event APP used by Adidas to Tedx. A fully intergrated event management software hailed as the ‘Oscars’ of Event Technology, it gives the nudge needed to meet and mingle.

View attendee profiles, in-APP message and set up a meeting before or during the event. Create communities; open groups suggesting coffee meet ups, go for a beer, ice-breakers & debrief on an event. There’s a meet up for everyone.

Pathable. Brand event platform.

From Microsoft to United Nations this is an Award winning event management software and mobile APP. From API integration, exhibitors, speakers, sponsors to agenda, schedules, maps and live polls. It is designed to maximise attendees potential for social and community networking.

That’s all folks. Attendees have come to expect interactive experiences before, during and after events. It’s nearly 2020. Adapt or die.

Our door is always open to share, create, connect.

Let’s chat anytime between now and next Thursday.  

Shelley Rigg

Head of Digital Content at next Thursday. Editorial, digital & social. I eat content for breakfast. It’s a twenty-five year love affair.