Meetings And Events Need Greeters

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, November 06, 2009 at 04:00 AM with 0 comments

Have you ever been alone in a crowded room? It can easily happen, when you first enter a room or area where a meeting or event is going on. It can be crowded or even spread out with a few people. You don’t know anyone and nobody knows you. If you read any number of networking resources, there are all kinds of advice and tips to tackle this situation and make it work for you.

But what if it doesn’t work? What if you just can’t crack into the audience? Is it solely your fault? Of course not! Somebody or some organization spent time and money to put on this event, extended an invitation to you and others, and then they leave it to others to ensure its event? This failure in logic is the direct result of not having facilitators or greeters in order to prevent situations like this.

Proven In Action

When I was involved in the Boston Jaycees and eventually became its president, I learned first-hand how having greeters made our meetings more successful. We held monthly membership meetings, and the second someone entered the room they needed to check-in. Everybody wore nametags – members would have one color border on their tag and guests another. This way, any member of the board of the Jaycees, as well as general members, would be able to know who was new and reach out to them. We held an orientation a few minutes before the meeting started for guests to welcome them and give them an overview of the organization and the meeting itself, so when it commenced they would be in the know as to what was transpiring.

As a result, new guests felt welcomed and it helped break the ice for them in a room where most people knew each other. For the Jaycees, as we were a membership organization looking to grow, we were easily able to identify people and connect with them. Where we had specific membership people who would seek out people, as a result of the color-coded nametags, all members automatically became greeters, namely because many of them had a similar, engaging experience when they first came to a meeting.

The Opposite Proven In Action As Well

A few years back my wife and I went to a local networking event for a business organization in Chicago whose name is purposely being withheld. I was on their mailing list, but had no other connection to them or knew anyone involved. As we entered the meeting area, there was a check-in table, but after that we were purely on our own. The attendees appeared to know each other from our observation. Many people had nametags indicating they were officers of the organization. But as we moved through the room, we found people did not want to engage with us, despite our efforts to reach out to many people. We got frustrated, namely as this was billed as a networking event and welcomed non-members. My wife made a last-ditch effort by boldly going up to several individuals, including those with nametags, but nobody had any interest in talking with us! Needless to say we left, and that’s all we talked about the remainder of the night.

It Doesn’t Take Much

A couple of packs of nametags was the way we at the Jaycees were able to identify new people, not to mention a culture of welcoming. If you are going through the cost and effort to hold an event or meeting, why not ensure people get as great of a return on the event as you do? Or put it like this – could your event or meeting be less successful because you do not do this? I could have easily mentioned the name of the organization I slammed above, and someone else may not be as kind.

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