Redefining Live™


Event audience expectations continue evolving, and that includes the high value they place on networking experiences.

According to the Freeman Trends Report: 2024 Attendee Sentiment and Behavior, attendees value networking opportunities where they can make connections (new and old), exchange ideas, and have access to industry experts.

Based on our latest research, here are three planning do’s and don’ts to help simplify the networking component of your next event.

DO …

1 Plan for networking space throughout your event 

Give attendees multiple spaces to stop and interact, rest, have a snack, or refuel with their favorite caffeinated beverage. Cup of coffee and a conversation, anyone?

ASCRS placed a bar with plenty of seating and an education stage at the center of its show. The area exceeded engagement expectations.

RSNA built a large, open networking area with an education stage, multiple smaller spaces with tables where snacks and beverages could be purchased, and nooks for more focused or private conversations.

2 Use apps and AI to bring people together

You can automate networking plans and measure results for future planning thanks to easy-to-use, AI-based apps.

42Chat helps curate conversations between attendees who have similar interests and backgrounds.

Zenus AI turns sentiment and real-time data into objective insights, and can show you where groups are mostly likely to congregate, stop, or have a positive sentiment.

3 Turn networking into an experience 

Add engagement activities where attendees can mix with colleagues, interact with industry experts, and cultivate new connections in an entertaining way. And if your networking experience includes a learning component, all the better!

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) created an immersive experience, where attendees and association members were able to network, along with a presentation stage, demonstrations, and snacks/beverages.

Explore more step-by-step networking event ideas.


1 Ignore different types of audiences 

Learn what activities or experiential activations appeal to your audiences. For example, consider extroverts, who thrive on crowds and conversations, versus introverts who may be more likely to attend festivities that generate smaller group connections.

2 Overschedule your event

Packing too much content into an event can backfire with attendees feeling overwhelmed and exhausted — and actually lead to taking in less content.

Build in time between keynotes and sessions that gives attendees a chance to connect with each other and recharge (in those networking spaces that you planned out in your event design!).

3 Miss out on sponsorship opportunities

Networking events create sponsorship opportunities that can help cover the costs of your networking or even help offset costs of your show!

Focus on sponsors who are industry experts or brands that can provide learning activities to truly enhance and elevate the networking experience.

Who’s your networking expert?

During the planning process, it’s a good idea to assign a networking expert on your team who can focus on this essential part of the show and ensure it’s prioritized.

Want to learn more about planning networking? Go here.

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