How do you provide the best networking experience for an event that has nearly 1,000 guests? This can be a bit of a daunting question. No one can possibly network with that many people, and many find the idea of an event that large overwhelming. Precision recently executed an event of this size and the comments heard were that it was one of the best networking experiences ever because of how intimate it was. This is how it was accomplished:
Through the use of pipe-and-drape and the seating arrangement, we were able to create an inviting, warm dinner party-like atmosphere. We transformed a 50,000 square foot ballroom into three different ambiences. Two of the settings were used for receptions, and the third was used for the actual dinner. The draping that was used gave the impression of a smaller area for the dinner than in the event’s past. We then had the stage set in the center of the tables. This ensured that no one was at the “back of the room”. No one person was more than five tables away from the stage itself.
With being so close to the stage, and tables all around the stage, it gave the illusion that there were not near as many there have been in years’ past. In actuality, there were more guests in attendance this year than last year. Countless times, staff were asked about this and then told that the intimate feel allowed for more relaxed and better networking opportunities.
There are a few challenges with this type of seating though. You must be sure that all of your speakers are comfortable in engaging the entire room in the “round”. Stage directions and rehearsals are key to the success of a program. We were fortunate that our speakers were accustomed to this, but it is something that should be pointed out prior to making this recommendation. This was a successful event for the client and sponsors alike, because of the atmosphere that was created allowing for better networking opportunities while accomplishing the programming that the client desired.