Corporate events are essential for nurturing professional relationships and creating new connections. And since we’ve all been working in a more isolated way, networking has become more important than ever.
But how do you help guests avoid awkwardness while creating valuable working relationships? With a few fun icebreaker games and group networking activities. To help you facilitate meaningful networking, here’s a list of ideas to endear your attendees to each other – and to your event.
1. Shared storytelling
Storytelling is one of the most popular networking workshop exercises. Use prompts such as “Tell us about a time you blew people away at work” or “How did your first job help you get to where you are?” Ask attendees to prepare a quick story, which they can share with small groups or up on stage. You can also host this virtually and create breakout rooms to allow attendees to share stories in smaller groups.
2. Speed networking
Of all the networking games for professionals, speed networking is playful and effective. Similar to speed dating, pair participants up for two to three minutes at a time. Ask them to get to know each other, exchange contact info, and find something interesting that they’ll remember about the other person.
3. Ask the audience
Audience polls can be effective networking icebreakers if it’s not feasible to split your audience into small groups for discussion following a presentation or masterclass. Apps like Mentimeter enable digital polling and let you show the results live with real-time graphs and charts.
4. Provide prompts
When it comes to icebreaker questions for adults, use prompts to create a sentence-finishing game. Offer starters like: “The first album I ever bought was…” or “The best way for me to relax is…”, and participants fill in the blanks. If you’re looking for small group networking activities online, participants can easily answer in the chatbox.
5. Brainstorm goals
Icebreaker games aren’t just about getting people over their initial shyness – they can also serve as productive kick-off sessions. Pair off participants to brainstorm (either in person or in breakout rooms) what they would like to accomplish at the event.
6. Invent new words
Another way to get attendees thinking creatively is the “invent a new word” challenge. Hand out flashcards naming common objects and have participants work together to think of new names. This will challenge preconceptions and bring people together in an unpredictable way. When it comes to virtual icebreakers, you could share your screen then open up the floor to a lively discussion.
Pair off participants and have them come up with two or three questions to ask panellists or speakers. This can get people working and talking together, as well as driving engagement with your speakers for a more collaborative approach to panels or talks. Plus, this activity makes a great add-on to online masterclasses or seminars.
8. Unstructured time
Of course, corporate icebreaker games aren’t the only way to coax attendees out of their shells. Unstructured networking workshop ideas give attendees better ways to connect throughout your event. Onsite lunches, happy hours, and other types of “free time” are great opportunities to meet and greet. Online, have an informal “free space” where attendees can dial in for a relaxed chat.
9. Enable networking apps
Help event-goers figure out who they want to connect with on the ground by using apps that encourage networking. Apps like Presdo Match allow event attendees to embed their LinkedIn profiles, making it easy for them to find the best networking opportunities for their needs.
10. Competitive networking
Make networking activities competitive by instructing attendees to collect business cards (or if you’re online, email addresses and social handles) from every person they speak to at the event. At the end, the person with the most business cards gets a prize and recognition for their networking aplomb.
11. Connect attendees online
Custom event hashtags let attendees connect online before, during, and after your event. They’re a great marketing technique for building buzz around events but are also a nice way to get your registered attendees excited.
12. Continue the connection
Don’t let the energy wane just because your event is over. Encourage participants to stay in touch with you and each other via your website, social media, and your mailing list.
Nurture connections with networking activities
Creating a space where attendees can connect and form valuable relationships has far-reaching benefits. But opportunities to facilitate these kinds of connections go way beyond the traditional, so consider using fun networking exercises to bring people together in an organic and light-hearted way.
From getting access to real-time sales data to organising smooth check-ins, find out how to plan, create, and promote memorable events with our corporate event planning tools.