Attendees often say the “best bit” of an event is the networking – those informal conversations that happen in the corridor or the queue for the coffee.
Online, it’s not so easy to replicate that on-site experience, but it can be done using Zoom breakout rooms or the dedicated networking features built into other video conferencing platforms.
Either way, it helps when the networking is facilitated in a creative and fun way. That’s where Jackie’s expertise comes in.
Case study 1
At the start of lockdown in 2020, when many attendees were not yet familiar with breakout rooms, Jackie ran an online session for members of “the oldest networking group in London”.
They already knew each other fairly well, so she set up a game of ‘three truths and a lie’. Teams of four each had to think of a fact about themselves, one being a lie, declare their facts back in the main room, and the rest had to guess which individual was telling the untruth.
These were senior people, and you might expect them to prefer a serious activity. But Jackie had already warmed them up with an earlier exercise and introduction.
It turned out to be hilarious. They relaxed and enjoyed it. It unleashed some amazing true (and false) stories. It also led to a useful discussion about who you can believe and trust – a key networking skill.
Case study 2
Jackie ran an active networking session for PSA South East where she facilitated three fun games inspired by the principles of improvised comedy:
- Say Hello (Getting to know you… in various styles)
- Yes And (Accept-and-build storytelling)
- Commit (Name / memory game that involves movement)
As well as drawing out lessons about how to network effectively, the session injected a burst of energy, gave rise to much laughter, and led to more creative conversations during the lunch break.
Case study 3
Jackie was invited to run a networking session for the Young Director Forum at the IoD. She included her famous ‘networking bingo’ as an icebreaker and example of ‘quantity’ networking. She then divided attendees into groups using ‘fuzzy balls’ to present to each other for one-minute each as an example of ‘quality’ networking. Finally, she drew out some key lessons for them to take away.
Here’s a brief snippet that captures the energy that resulted in the room:
“You were excellent and spot on for our crowd. That was one of the buzziest nights we’ve had and that was down to your injection of energy.”
David Gordon, Chairman, IoD Young Directors’ Forum
“Jackie can energise an audience and make networking sessions fun and informative. If you need an energy injection during your conference I would highly recommend Jackie Barrie.”
Janice B Gordon
“Many thanks for your excellent talk on Thursday. I expected it to be good and wasn’t disappointed. I particularly liked the paper-tearing exercise.”
Huw Williams, Croydon Ecademy
- Best time to run this exercise? Just before a break
- Variations: Snowball fight – a fun way of getting people to mix and mingle. Card matching – a creative way of getting people into groups.