• Creating connections when attendees wait
I recently traveled to New York City to experience New York Comic Con (NYCC) for the first time. As most of you know, a convention of this magnitude requires a multitude of lines; lines to enter, lines for the bathrooms, lines for autographs, lines to get into special events…lines for days!
Though lines are not the most interesting part of any event or attraction, those within the line are all there for the same reason, to see or do something significant. Starting a conversation with someone you already have a common interest with is a little easier than other situations.
While waiting in one particular line at NYCC, two women in front of my group were discussing an event I had recently heard of. I excused myself for interrupting and asked for more information on the event. We then began to talk about books, other conventions, our work, and more. A woman in front of the first two women chimed in after I said I was from South Dakota, saying she was from Minneapolis, MN. Our groups began to join and mingle amidst talk of careers and nerdisms, business cards were exchanged, and photos were posted on Instagram.
I haven’t been in my office long since vacation and have already reached out to one of these new contacts about working together on an editorial piece. Just like that, my vacation line turned into a career opportunity.
Lines are almost inevitable in any event situation. As an attendee of events, learn to make the most of the line and turn your wait into an opportunity to make connections. As planners, be creative with your potential line areas to help foster networking.
• Engage attendees with Instagrammable picture stops
• Cultivate conversation with starter questions posted on the walls
• Choose to use multiple food stations to get people lined up and learning about each other
• Employ line entertainment; a card magician or historical figure to engage with attendees
• Make your line part of your CSR, have drop-off areas for collecting donatable items or use this as a way to fill food pantry bags from different stations.
Elevating an experience can be as simple as a line, all it takes is an elevated mind and a willingness to mingle.
Tell us about one of your best 'line networking' experiences in the comments below or by emailing our editor at Charmaine@MidwestMeetings.com