Boosting the # of opportunities: Pre-scheduled events
What are pre-scheduled networking events?
In pre-scheduled events, you / your team create the meetings on behalf of Your attendees & provide them with the finalised schedule, letting them know whom they will meet at what time.
This type of events we typically see being organised in the b2b space for high-level executives. Typically, such events don’t require (or even enable) use of specialised online event tech – that’s outside of tools such as Zoom or Microsoft team & excel spreadsheet. Before we dive into best practices & tips, let’s look at the advantages & disadvantages of such events.
- Perfectly suited for a busy audience, typically high-level executives who don’t have time to waste (And often also the will to learn to work with another online tool)
- Greatly suited for events filled with attendees of shy nature who, even though are there to meet others are afraid to do the first step (E.g. actively invite somebody / start the conversation)
- You are exposing yourself to the risk of matching non-compatible attendees. No doubts – that happens event when people invite one another. The difference is that when you’ve arranged the meeting on their behalf, you will be the one who they will blame in their minds. It’s okay as long as the ration between Good : Not so good meetings is at least 1.1 : 1
- The turn-up rate tends to be about 20% lower compared to events where attendees select their meetings themselves. You can eliminate this an effective pre-event communication
- Lost opportunities. No matter how well you do the initial screening of your participants, there will always be something missing. The human factor is inexplicable & sometimes people want to meet because of entirely different criteria than you’d expect.
- Highly time-consuming process. If these events are to be performed well, you will need to spend extensive time on the event marketing, the innitial screening of attendees (while taking into consideration their time-availability throughout the day), manual matchmaking & calendar invites creation. Not to mention that the complexity increases every time one of these attendees drops or another joins in at the last minute.
How to get most of these type of events?
Here are the 5 main rules to follow:
A. Keep it small
Unless you want to go insane, we strongly recommend keeping this type of event under 100 meetings and a maximum of 20-25 attendees. This gives you 4-5 slots which you need to book on behalf of each of these attendees. And trust us when we say that it’s already pushing the limits.
B. Keep it exclusive
Eliminate the number of reschedules you will need to do. Make it clear from the day one that this event is highly exclusive & if someone is so lucky to get in, they know it. And they will do all they can to avoid cancelling their attendance at this event.
C. Ask the right questions
Collect answers to the same set of qualifying questions from ALL your attendees upon registration. Understand who they want & don’t want to meet. You will need those when deciding whom to match with whom.
D. Define the supply & demand side
Book in meetings which sparkle the conversations that go far beyond your event. Help your attendees to connect with one another quickly by giving them the background on the other party and ensuring they understand even before going into the meeting that the other party is offering what they are looking for.
E. Help them with follow-ups
Have email templates ready to be sent out to your attendees shortly after the event. Remind them of whom they’ve met & provide them with their contact details – Email / Link to LinkedIn profile etc.
…And above all – always collect feedback from the participants but also from everyone involved in the planning process. Learn how to improve any future events of this type you organise.