There are notably a lot more in-person events this season, and I’ve been seeing and getting involved in a lot of discussions about how to make event networking more effective. Not that it’s a new question for the event community, but as you can imagine we are in a completely different world right now with pandemic and other issues taking their toll.
So I figured this is a good moment to share a few science-based tips for my fellow #eventprofs attending events like IMEX Frankfurt for the first time in three years, or really for anyone who feels they are stuck with ideas on how this can work.
Social fatigue is real
The first thing to remember when returning to in-person is the social fatigue effect. It’s an emerging phenomenon explaining how after a prolonged period of social isolation many of us get overwhelmed and emotionally drained much faster when we get to communicate with others live (like at an event). So, as much as you’d like to network, first take care of yourself. Take plenty of tiny breaks and balance your on-site schedule, even walk outside for a few minutes. Your brain will thank you, and further communication will be more productive.
Shared identity is key
Second, if you feel anxious about the scheduled meetings since there has been a 2 year gap, etc.. Then think about what you have in common with the person you’re meeting. It’s not just about finding similarities (although it helps – it’s called the Liking principle of persuasion). It relates to Unity, the 7th persuasion principle by Cialdini and is about shared values and identities. For our industry, it shouldn’t be too hard, especially since everyone has been through similar experiences over the past two years, so there’s a lot of common ground to start with. If you approach networking from this perspective, you’ll feel much more comfortable.
Values have changed
Finally, people’s attitudes have changed a lot. It includes how we all value time differently and crave meaningful conversations. Keep that in mind, make even small talk matter – you’ll see the difference.
I help eventprofs increase engagement, improve event design and communications with low-cost science-backed solutions. Drop me a line to discuss an event psychology training or a consult, or if you have an idea for collaboration. Also:
join Event psychology club community
take Event psychology lab online course
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