Pre-funtions – we all know we need them. That happy hour, mixer, whatever you call it lets your guests arrive at their leisure and be ready to go in to the main function on time. And we all know that valuable networking can take place during these times. But does it really?
As a veteran of many industry shows, I can tell you without a doubt that many if not most pre-functions are intimidating and awkward for many attendees. Unless you are traveling with others that you already know, the prospect of trying to integrate into existing conversations or mingle with strangers is daunting. Cliches are already formed, and groups traveling together are not interested in adding more people. Sure, there are free drinks, but without help for the attendees the planner is missing out on a great opportunity to foster networking and conversation.
What are your options? Interactive entertainment!
Picture a roaming magician, for example. A skilled magician (or any entertainer) can easily solicit two or more disparate people to interact. Introductions, conversation, participation all foster familiarity.
Imagine a card trick; “Hi! What’s your name? Julie, great. And what’s yours? Mark. Ok Julie and Mark, I want each of you to hold one end of this rope. Julie, what do you do?” and so on. Instant
Entertainers such as magicians, jugglers, balloon artists, singer/guitar players, drag queens, or any character actor are an inexpensive, great way to increase networking and interaction.
Or you could just serve drinks and hope for the best. Your call.