5 creative networking ideas to break the ice at events

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Photo credit: linh.m.do / Foter / CC BY

Networking at events can be awkward, but need not be. Help attendees to feel at ease, break out of their comfort zone, and get to know more about others at your event beyond “What do you do?” by facilitating one of these five creative (and we promise, fun) networking ideas below!

Assemble A Dream Team

Let’s transform your attendees into groups with superpowers! Print out some photos and cut them into the number of people per group. When your attendees check-in at the event, give them a fragment of the image and a timeframe to find the members of their team. Once they’ve found each other, get them talking! If you expect a diversity of skills and life experience at the event, one suggestion is to give them a scenario to chat about – for example, an emergency, a task, a reality TV show setup, and figure out how each of them can participate in the situation according to their strengths.

Swap Name Tags

Step one: Give everyone who shows up a name tag that isn’t theirs and a burning question to ask that person. Don’t make the questions too invasive!

Step two: Let them make conversation at the event to identify the person whose name is on the name tag.

Experiment With Themed Bingo Cards

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IDEA: Customised Bingo cards can help your guests start conversations!

Fill up the bingo card squares with various life milestones and adventures – feel free to make them funny! Get attendees to find amongst themselves people who would fit the bill of what’s described in a bingo card square and the first person to complete a row of five either diagonally, vertically or horizontally wins.

Hold Speed Meetings

This twist on speed dating is the perfect way for everyone in the room to know each other better in a short amount of time. Get attendees to arrange themselves into two rows of seven, each row facing the other. Provide them with a list of three questions they can ask beyond “What do you do?” to break the ice – for example, “What’s your guilty pleasure?” which can raise answers like sleep, binge watching Netflix, ice cream and so on. Hit it with the music, and whenever the music plays, attendees are to ask the person opposite them the three questions. When the music stops, the first person on one of the two rows moves to stand beside the last person of that row whilst the entire row shifts up such that they now face a new person on the opposite row. Keep playing and stopping the music till everyone’s met all seven people in the opposite row.

Wall of High Fives

Everyone loves doodling, leaving notes, and giving out recommendations of what they know best. So combine these ideas together by sticking post-its or paper to your walls and encouraging attendees to scribble recommendations on them! Suggestions: Five Horror Movies, Five Favourite Coffee Spots, Five TV Shows, Five Inspiring Books, Five Twitter Accounts… or anything related to the theme of your event! Create categories for attendees to write in, and have them sign off their list of fives with their Twitter or Instagram handle so you can continue the conversation on social media post-event.


Have other creative networking ideas you can share with us? We’d love to hear them out, and even try them at our community event for organisers, Backstage Pass!