How to turn a Networking Event into a Game

AcctNerd's picture
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Several years ago I was working in the social media space and had to give tons of pitches to different PE, VC, and Angel groups. The content of the pitch was pretty much the same each time, however, after a while it was getting stale.

The content itself was great, but after doing it over 100 times it got OLD fast. I came up with a way to liven it up. I told our head of business development to slide me a piece of paper right before I started with a completely unrelated word written on it. My goal was to try and work that word into the presentation somehow that didn't sound forced or out of place. Some of the words I can remember are: spoon, jellyfish, genuflect, shaving cream, and satchel

It worked like a charm. My presentations started coming alive again when we started playing this little game!

I also started using little games when I would go to networking events. As outgoing and friendly as I am, I would often find myself gravitating toward groups where I already knew most of the people and turning the night into a hangout event with some acquaintances instead of getting out of the comfort zone and meeting new people.

Here are a few examples of ways you can turn networking events into games to make them more fun and to provide a way to quantify you experience so it can be measured. (Yes...I went there...I am a complete nerd.)

Not all of these will work at every networking event. You will need to tailor your game to the environment and people that are attending.

  • Get a colleague to play along and challenge each other to find someone that has done the most dangerous thing in their life. This is a GREAT way to talk about stuff other than work.
  • Set a goal of meeting X number of people.
  • Set a goal of meeting X number of people with a certain title.
  • Use my word game and trade words with a colleague that you MUST work into every conversation during the night.
  • Make a goal to meet the keynote speaker of the event and get his/her information.

The point isn't to win every single challenge, but to get yourself psyched up to head into what would otherwise be a very vanilla networking event.

What you will notice after doing this for several months is that you won't need the games anymore. You will have retrained yourself to be a master networker at these events. Each event will start to look different to you and you will be way more confident in your approach.

Would love to hear if anyone else has done something similar. Also, would love to hear ideas about different games you could play at these events.

Comments (10)

May 1, 2014

Interesting approach man. I think I'll definitely try the word game thing.

May 1, 2014

this is gold! thanks for sharing...Similar targets I set for myself at a networking event

- Taking X number of business cards by the end of event.
- Finding atleast 3 hot girls and complement them on their looks. ( trust me, this can go way off when you are a nobody trying to play the game)
- When its a really stale event and nobody is worth my time, I focus on finishing the free wine on offer and make sure I have my hands on every possible piece of complimentary diaries, pens, rubik cube!!! whatever..

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." ~George Moore

May 1, 2014

Agreed, one of the best goals to have is to give out X number of business cards and talk to X number of new people.

May 1, 2014
neil joseph:

this is gold! thanks for sharing...Similar targets I set for myself at a networking event

- Taking X number of business cards by the end of event.

- Finding atleast 3 hot girls and complement them on their looks. ( trust me, this can go way off when you are a nobody trying to play the game)

- When its a really stale event and nobody is worth my time, I focus on finishing the free wine on offer and make sure I have my hands on every possible piece of complimentary diaries, pens, rubik cube!!! whatever..

Dahahahaha

May 1, 2014

Psychologically, turning any task into a game makes it much more enjoyable. Great info!

May 2, 2014

This is awesome! I wish I had played this last night.

The hills are alive with the sound of horsepower! - Jeremy Clarkson

May 2, 2014

The word game could get really dicey depending on the word

May 3, 2014

True, you need to be careful, but that's why you don't play with your frat brothers.

May 2, 2014
May 5, 2014
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