Modeled networking. How to introduce people in communities

Let’s consider a method when you need to quickly start introducing a group of people before a speech, conference, presentation, or just introducing people in a community. Let’s call it “Modeled Networking”.

Photos from the launch of the program alumni community "Doing business" GSB MSU.
Photo from the launch of the community of graduates of the program “Doing Business” GSB MSU.

Imagine a situation when you come to a party or business event in your field of activity. At the entrance, a friendly organizer meets you and hands you several colored cards on which you will find out a description of the field of activity, company and position, or maybe just a couple of phrases about the person you need to find and ask him a question that is unexpected for both of you:

For example: “What makes you happy?” or “What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had in the past week?” or “Remember and tell us about your most annoying client or contractor?”

Such questions will definitely not leave indifferent either you or the interlocutor. Their task is precisely to make a person drop the mask of the role in which he came and establish a more sincere contact with the interlocutor. And this more often leads to friendship or partnership or sale or even romantic relationships.

When you and this person are asked in a few years – Where did you meet, you will answer that at the event “____” (there will be the brand, community or name of the conference for which such a mechanic was held). This creates brand strength and brand loyalty.

Let’s go back to the moment you were given the card. Now you see a description of a person on it, but you do not know the name. How to look for a person when there are dozens, or maybe hundreds of guests at the event?

  1. Ask a friend if he knows one or more people whose information is on your cards.

  2. Just ask the first person you meet if he knows one of those on the cards.

This simple “tackle” for many will be a breath of fresh air in networking. Most people find it really difficult to just walk up to a person and start a dialogue with them, and our simulated networking gives them a legitimate and understandable reason to approach a stranger.

This is what networking cards look like.

Using the example of the launch of the Alumni community of the Doing Business program at the Graduate School of Business of Moscow State University, let’s consider the networking model.

The audience. Graduates of 4 streams of the program, 20-28 years old. Young professionals, scientists or entrepreneurs with a technical background. Each stream is more or less familiar inside, but did not intersect.

What information do we want to give on the cards? Uniting here are the faculty, field of activity, companies and positions. In this case, we also added a personal comment “how would you describe yourself in one sentence”

Details. On the cards, in addition to the text, there are figures indicating the gender of the person to be found in the style of the Doing Business program. And the cards themselves are designed in accordance with the brand.

Game mechanics. In this case, networking is not the very purpose of the event, there is also a meaningful part, so we did not set a competition or a goal in the form of speed or the number of people found. However, this can be included in the format.

Why meet. “Find him and find out what he dreams about” – such a phrase is likely to immerse interlocutors in a warm, trusting atmosphere, but it works well with a community where there are already people who know each other. If most of them are completely unfamiliar, and the community has little to unite yet, you should choose an easier form, such as: “Find him and find out what he wanted to get by going to this event.”

Clue. “Don’t know how? Ask your friend? – we know for sure that among the 70 participants of the event, everyone will meet at least one acquaintance. If we have other inputs, then the hint should be written like this – “Don’t know how? Ask the organizer, then he will easily introduce the first closest person to this person and start a dialogue.”

In this example, you can simulate networking for your event yourself. Now is the time to unite and support each other.

Before connection

Alexander Semashko

Founder of the closed community Club Lomonosov. The chemist who builds communities

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