Here are more tips on how weak ties make strong conferences from VCC’s VP of Connexity, Sarah Michel.
Note: She recently wrote about how weak ties can make conferences stronger, connexity and speed networking tips as well as has her own series called Perfecting Connecting.
Maximizing Trust Between Conference Attendees
One way to maximize trust between conference attendees is to encourage attendees to pair up with a learning buddy who they don’t know. Then give them time to connect one to one to compare their notes and takeaways.
Putting attendees into small groups to discuss their learnings and hands-on exercises also increases trust and tacit knowledge sharing.
These kinds of opportunities provide attendees with new information, perspectives, ideas and resources outside of their strong inner network. When attendees ask their weak tie, “Tell me more about that,” you’ve helped increase trust.
Using some of these techniques can cause weak ties to become strong. They also grow your attendees’ network.
Mining And Managing Our Weak Ties
Draw a wheel. Now, put yourself in the center as the hub. Then draw spokes coming from you (the hub) and label them by the names of the different networks you’re a part of like professional associations, church/temple, volunteer organizations, hobbies/clubs, alumni groups, children’s school, etc. Next, add names of people you know from each of those networks and try to recall who introduced you to that network.
Who were some of the people you knew when you first joined this network that you’ve lost touch with? This is why Facebook and LinkedIn are so helpful. They help us find weak links quickly but you have to remember who they are to search for them.
Working With Years Old Weak Ties
We don’t know if our weak ties that are years old still turn to the same people until we reach out and reconnect.
I believe in Meg Wheatley’s motto, “Step into the energy of Yes!” Works for me every time. Even if that weak tie is no longer connected to what I’m looking for, I believe reconnecting is worth it. You never know what may happen. It may be exactly what they were looking for.
Marketing To Weak Or Strong Ties
You should market your conference to both weak and strong ties.
Attendees are going to decide if it’s worth their time and money to attend based on who else is going. They’ll scan the registration list to make sure their strong ties are attending. And they will look at the names/titles and companies of people whom they don’t know yet or only know weakly.
Your marketing materials should clearly identify that you’ve designed experiences for them to connect with close colleagues (strong ties), meet new ones and get reacquainted with old ones (weak ties).
What insights do you have about working with weak ties? Why are some attendees intimidated to make new connections and meet weak ties?
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