Posted by: conferencebay | April 24, 2008

Social Networking Woes

The best way to learn more about a certain topic, or to catch up on the latest innovations in the industry, is to head to a conference. These events are also great opportunities for networking. You get to talk to other industry players and experts, find out what your competitors are doing and who knows, you might even meet a few potential business partners!

April brought us to two conferences. Arnout was at an e-commerce conference in Singapore, preaching passionately about how conference organizers and delegates can benefit from online marketplaces (like Conference Bay!). He blew everyone away of course! Frank had the opportunity to attend The Next Web conference in Amsterdam on a free ticket! Yes, a free ticket! Free is a golden magic word in Singapore. One never refuses anything that is given away free of charge! We scored that ticket by submitting this very professional home-video! George Lucas, watch out!

Both events were great opportunities for us to spread the word about our humble little venture and how it can benefit organizers and delegates alike. Very useful for us at this stage as people tend to need to hear our story a couple of times before they try us out. Which is not such a bad thing because once they’ve tried us out, they can’t deny the value of Conference Bay!

Unfortunately, even though both conferences were very good, and we got to meet a lot of really interesting people, the organizers missed the chance to make more out of the events in terms of networking opportunities. While they had recognized the importance of networking and had the tools/services for it, they didn’t turn out to be as valuable as they seemed.

The organizer of the event in Singapore had a very interesting networking tool for delegates to get in touch with each other before and after the event. This included a meeting planner where delegates could schedule appointments with people they want to meet before the event. This would eliminate the need to make those appointments during the event itself. Very convenient. Now if only they had sent us the login information for the meeting planner before the event took place, and not three weeks after!

As for the one in Amsterdam, they had introduced a nifty little tool called the “confnetwork”. It was an interesting concept. Designed to improve the networking experience for delegates during the event. But, according to the people Frank spoke to at the conference, it wasn’t working properly at that time. So without the high-tech gadgetry and systems in place, we had to network the old-fashioned way. Badges with only the delegate’s first name on them. The idea was to keep things nice and informal to encourage a more relaxed atmosphere, but without the all-important last name and company name (think about it, would you rather talk to just Steve from Apple Inc, or Steve Jobs from Apple Inc?), networking was definitely more difficult and inefficient.

When networking is the main goal for most conference goers, it’s important to have all the services and tools in proper working order before the event. It was great to see that the organizers recognize the need for a better networking, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

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Responses

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