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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Creating Planned Serendipity For Your Conference Success

Although this article is about building in planned serendipity at conferences, I think its advice could be applied to other uses -- especially in using social media to build connections between people.
Author Dave Lutz writes:
By definition, serendipity is a happy accident or surprising discovery that comes when we least expect it.
Planned serendipity, on the other hand, is an effort to increase the likelihood and frequency of these discoveries. ...
Lutz discusses these three ways to make connections more likely at a conference, but consider each as a method for sharing information and interactions in a virtual event: a Facebook page or to a Google+ circle or in a Twitter tweet or in some other social media tool:
1. House conference guests on the same floors.
When like-minded attendees are in closer proximity, the chances for them to meet and engage in meaningful conversations increase. ... The more a person is seen by someone, the more likeable that person becomes.
2. Create small-group seating clusters to spark impromptu conversations.
[C]reate pod-seating clusters where four to six people can easily gather and chat. Create similar cluster-seating arrangements at restaurants, in lobbies and surrounding all networking receptions. ...
3. Train staff and volunteers to be connectors.
As participants arrive at sessions and receptions, staff and volunteers need to be on their toes, circulating and engaging in conversations. Show staff and volunteers how to ask participants the kinds of questions (e.g., What session did you enjoy most today?) that can guide them in making valuable introductions to others. ...
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