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Simple but powerful ways to take the work out of networking breaks

Picture this:

Moderator announces a quick 10 minute break (it was supposed to be 20 but the last speaker went over time by 10 mins and the organisers have to make it up somewhere).

The crowd straggles towards a sad array of stale coffee and yesterday’s muffins*.

You end up next to a very enthusiastic head-hunter / recruiter type - she’s only at the conference to try to find candidates for her client.

You quickly work out it's not a match.

You’re now trapped making small talk with someone you will likely never see or hear from again.

Break’s over - back to ‘Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts - the Conference Edition’.

Sound painfully familiar?

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can be much more thoughtful and intentional with the networking breaks we build into conference programmes.

Some simple ideas to get you started:

  • Guide your breaks

  • Lead into the break with instructions or suggested topics that participants should tackle and ask for volunteers to share interesting findings as soon as they come back from the break

  • Theme your breaks

  • Create different areas / food stations based around different topics that you’re covering at your conference. Allow your participants to self-select the area that best aligns with their experience or interest

  • Energise your breaks

  • Use music, videos, live artists, plant a talking point / surprise in the bathrooms - anything that can lead your participants into a meaningful conversation or provides an opportunity for bonding over a good chuckle

  • Is ‘sweatworking’ the new networking? You decide!

* Check out our post on the importance of FOOD at your next conference!

Let's inspire your community - Team UC


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