Let’s face it, each city of medium size and up has events slated at the entrepreneur, and they tend to fall into one of two categories. The speaker series, or the networking drinks series, but there are very strong underlying problems with each.
Let’s look at Entrepreneurship Speaker Series.
You sign up, you go, you are seated and then you listen to one guy speak for 30 minutes, then the next for another 30, then the third and are eventually moved into a space to network for 30 more minutes. Alternatively, you’ll get one speaker, and then a networking session on top of that.
Great, or is it. Aside from the fact that most speakers lack the charisma of a Barak Obama or Churchill, these series tend to go over time, and if people are sitting in a hall, you’ll find a percentage of the crowd dozing off. If the speaker series extends to two or three individuals this percentage will undeniably go up.
After the event is finished, everyone will huddle around the speaker and try to get a word in, in order to have a bit of face time and hope they’ll remember them. While the rest of the group stands in their corners talking to people they already know. Sounds familiar?
The Networking Drinks Series
You head to a bar, you get a “Hello my name is” tag and you’re supposed to network. But with whom? Who do you talk to, how can you get the most out of it, and what about those people who simply put aren’t good at talking to others, i.e. the introvert/extrovert scenario.
You have tons of these, Drink Tank in London, Founders Lounge in Barcelona, even First Tuesdays succumbs to this. A drinks – event is good fun, but it’s productivity is questionable. Why? Because you don’t know who will be at the event, nor will you know that if there are people there worth talking to you’ll necessarily network with them.
Long story short the current model is simply not efficient – and there are many means for innovation and improvement within events targeting the entrepreneurship sector.
So What About Solutions
Here’s the thing. When you’ve got a speaker, get the crowd involved from the onset, break them up into small groups, whether they know each other or not, it doesn’t matter, have them collaborate – bringing in people from different walks, industries is good, it opens them up to other ways of thinking and problem solving. Don’t make the interaction one way, make it tow way, or event triangular.
When putting on a networking event, don’t just plop people in a room and say network, see who’s coming and pair them up, have a few people putting on the event make introductions, ask people when they sign up, who they want to meet, what they’re looking for. Make the whole thing interactive.
And make it fun, whether it’s a speaker, a networking event, a funding event, what have you, be sure to make it fun, engaging, and provide something that all aprticipants will take away from it, bring valie to everyone involved.
F3FundIt is planning an event for later this year, if you are interested in learning more about it or how you can get involved – please send an email to info @ f3fundit.com with the subject line f3f-event. Thanks.