20 Networking Event Ideas, Games & Activities

Home » Resources » Networking Event IdeasUpdated: September 22, 2022

You found our list of the best networking event ideas.

Networking event ideas are games and activities that you can use to facilitate meaningful and memorable connections among your guests at professional mixers. Examples include scavenger hunts, sporting activities, and birthday line-ups. The purpose of these activities is to provide an avenue for attendees to foster genuine connections that may lead to collaborations, job offers, or new project ideas.

These exercises are examples of get to know you activities, large group icebreaker activities, relationship-building activities, and community building activities. These activities are also similar to conference entertainment and team building events.

This list includes:

  • networking event ideas for young professionals
  • networking event ideas for large groups
  • networking ideas for small groups
  • virtual networking event ideas
  • networking games

Here we go!

List of networking event ideas

Planning a successful networking event remains a challenge that most companies face. One of the main problems enterprises encounter is creating a mix of entertainment ideas that will appeal to guests. From wine tasting to craft projects and one-word descriptions, here is a list of the best networking ideas and activities you can try at your next event.

1. Speed Networking

Speed networking is one of the most effective ideas to get your guests to interact. You can start by setting up stations with chairs or tables. Then, choose a random topic that guests will discuss. For example, you could opt for industry-specific or trending topics. Each participant can give their thoughts for one to two minutes. Speed networking is a fantastic avenue for guests to get new insights about the topic of discussion and lighten the event mood.

2. Business Card Collection

As one of the best networking event ideas for large groups, business cards provide a fantastic avenue for guests to interact effortlessly. You can start by requesting your guests to bring a stash of business cards to your event. Then, have participants collect as many cards as possible from other attendees. However, let participants interact as they pick the business cards. You could even offer incentives such as gifts for guests who can provide details about three attendees they met that stood out.

3. Silent Disco

Depending on the demographics of your team, silent discos are fantastic networking event ideas for your guests. Attendees can begin and carry on the conversation without the interruption of loud music. You could start by hiring equipment such as headphones and selecting the ideal music for your guests. Another great idea is letting attendees dance to their choice of music. If participants want to engage in a conversation, then all they need to do is take off the headphones. Guests who want a longer conversation can leave the dance hall and sit in a lounge area.

4. Extra Info Name Tag

If you are looking for networking event ideas for large groups, then an extra info name tag is a simple activity that will spark conversations among your guests. You could request attendees to provide one or two exciting details about themselves outside the professional field and include them on the name tag or lanyards. For instance, participants may provide the make of their first car, favorite food, or personal pump-up song. Then, during the event, let guests mingle and discuss the details. If you have a group of fewer than 20 guests, then you could have a session where participants will reveal one detail about a random guest.

5. Two Truths, One Lie

Two truths one lie is a fantastic game you can use in your next event to get attendees to interact. You can start by dividing your team into groups of 10 to 20 attendees. Then, let participants state two facts and one believable lie about themselves. The entire group can take turns guessing the lie and the factual statements. Teams can pick likes and dislikes from their hidden talents, skills, family, experiences, or interests.

Check out more fun question games to play in groups.

6. Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts top the list of in-person or virtual networking event ideas. For a large in-person networking event, you could start by splitting attendees into small groups of less than ten participants. Then, set a timer and let guests use clues to find the hidden treasure.

Examples of in-person scavenger hunt prompts:

  • Take a group picture with five attendees wearing the same-colored outfits
  • Find an attendee with any foreign currency
  • Find an attendee with whom you share a birthday
  • Take a picture of three attendees making different emoji faces
  • Find three attendees wearing one popular watch brand

Examples of virtual scavenger hunts:

  • Recreate a popular dance
  • Take pictures of your favorite mug
  • Take a video of your pet
  • Take photos of the funniest street sign in your town
  • Share the oldest video on your phone

Be sure to select the ideal scavenger hunts depending on participants’ preferences, event theme, and the networking event space.

Here is a list of the best scavenger hunt ideas.

7. Craft Projects

A cool craft project is a perfect activity that will foster attendees’ creativity and bonding. You can start by choosing a craft project that will interest your team. Then, get the essential supplies and set up different workstations in your space.

Examples:

  • Shoe-decorating
  • Jewelry creation
  • Flag-making
  • Paint and sip

To encourage conversation, you can divide attendees into teams of five to ten participants and let members work as a group.

8. Networking Ice Breaker Questions

If you are looking for networking ideas for small groups, then you can try out icebreaker questions. While icebreaker questions are often seen as mundane activities, you can customize your session to achieve a fun networking event. For instance, rather than reading out the questions, you could have a ball tossing session. For this idea, you can write icebreaker questions on a ball and toss it across participants. Any team player who catches the ball should read out loud the first question they spot.

Examples:

  • What fashion trend would you bring back, and why?
  • How do you gain motivation for difficult tasks?
  • What ice cream flavor explains your personality?
  • What is your guilty pleasure?
  • Which is your favorite film?
  • What are you excited about today?
  • What is the one productivity hack that you swear by?
  • What is your most memorable vacation spot?
  • What is your best food?
  • What is one skill that every employee should have?
  • What is your hidden talent?

Icebreaker questions will engage attendees and lighten up the event mood. Be sure to opt for icebreakers that do not have wrong answers, allow for self-expression, and questions that any participant can answer.

Check out this list of fun icebreaker questions.

9. Graffiti Walls

Graffiti Walls are great networking event ideas that let attendees showcase their creativity. For a hands-on option, you can opt for an in-venue graffiti painting activity. You can also check out digital graffiti walls for event spaces that cannot accommodate an actual wall. Once you set up your canvas, offer participants different paint colors and brushes and set the timer. For example, you could give participants up to 15 minutes to get creative and express themselves through drawings. After the painting session, let participants strike a pose next to the new creation.

10. Never Have I Ever?

Never have I ever is one of the best networking games to help your team loosen up and have fun. If you have a large group, then you could designate a staging area with seating for five to ten willing participants. Then, offer each participant placards with ‘I have’ and ‘I have never’ statements. Your emcee will then read out an act, after which participants can raise their placards in agreement or disagreement with the statement

Examples:

  • Never have I ever gone ice skating
  • Never have I ever participated in a talent show
  • Never have I ever screamed on an amusement park ride
  • Never have I ever had a surprise birthday party
  • Never have I ever said ‘I love you’ on a first date
  • Never have I ever cried in public
  • Never have I ever missed a flight
  • Never have I ever lied about my age

Depending on the time available, you could have different volunteers on stage. Another fascinating way to hold the ‘never have I ever’ icebreaker is by letting participants stand on different sides. One side can be a yes and the other a no. Once you read a question, attendees will move to either side that reflects their opinions. Be sure to avoid questions that may be disrespectful.

Check out more work-safe never have I ever questions.

11. Hula Hoop Island

The hula hoop island is an easy networking idea that does not require prior planning. First, start by placing several hula hoops in your event space. If you do not have hula hoops, then you can innovate by using tape circles or chalk to draw your island. Then, let five attendees stand on each hula hoop island and get to know each other. Set a timer and let participants stand in as many different islands as time allows.

12. Sports Activities

Hosting sporting activities tops the list of networking event ideas for young professionals. If you want all partygoers to participate, then you could look for a field in your vicinity. Then, let willing participants play their choice of games as other attendees cheer. For light small group sporting activities, you could use an outdoor space. Some fun sporting activities that will prompt conversation include tug of war, freeze tag, and relay races. Other team players may also enjoy less sporting activities like yoga, water polo, and freeze tag.

For inspiration, check out field day ideas.

13. Wine-Tasting

Rather than only offering event attendees drinks and bites during a networking session, you could consider getting the help of a sommelier. Your team will learn about wine from different producers in an interactive session. You could even have a session for participants to ask the sommelier wine-related questions and finish with a wine-tasting session. You can also consider having beer experts in the house for the session. Also, be sure to provide non-alcoholic drinks for guests.

Here is a list of online wine-tasting experiences.

14. Storytelling Sessions

Storytelling sessions are fun networking ideas for small groups where attendees will know each other better. These sessions are also an excellent avenue for participants to perfect their communication skills. You could let teams tell short stories about their lives. For instance, you can set a timer where each willing participant gets to share eventful experiences within eight minutes. Small group storytelling sessions will create an emotional connection among participants.

15. Seat Switch-Up

The seat switch-up activity is one of the best networking event ideas for seated occasions. To start the exercise, write the numbers three to seven on different papers and put the wrapping in a hat. Pick a random number and let attendees move the number of seats on the paper. For instance, if you pick number three, let attendees move three seats to the back, front, right, or left. To make the event more exciting, you can add designated lucky chairs with a prize. Participants who sit in the lucky seats get a prize. For a work networking event, you can offer attractive gifts such as free paid day offs or meal vouchers.

16. One-Word Descriptions

Best for small groups, one-word descriptions are some of the easiest icebreakers that will spark conversations among attendees. You can start by dividing participants into groups of five to ten. Then, let each participant state their first impression of another attendee. The variety of responses will spark conversation among participants who are meeting for the first time. Event planners who are on the search for virtual networking event ideas could also consider one-word descriptions.

17. Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs is a fun icebreaker that will prompt participants to reveal their competitive side. With safety measures in place, start by setting up chairs in a circle. If you have ten participants, then you should set up nine seats. Then, play music and let attendees sit when the music stops. The participants who do not manage to grab a seat will introduce themselves and exit the game. Carry on the game, ensuring to remove a chair when a player leaves the game. Once you crown the winner, randomly choose an attendee and let them mention the name of three other participants.

18. Poker Partners

Poker Partners is one of the easiest networking event ideas for young professionals. You could use the fun activity to encourage conversation in large and small teams. You can start by handing each team member a poker card. Then, give participants five minutes to find attendees with the same cards and common interests. You can use card meet-ups in company events to encourage interdepartmental networking.

19. Riddles

Solving riddles is the best way to get strangers to focus on a common goal. You can group your team into teams of less than ten participants. Then, give each group five riddles they will solve within five minutes.

Examples:

  • What do you break if you speak in time? – Silence
  • I have a head, a tail, but no body. Who am I? – A coin
  • Which building carries the most stories in the world? – The Library
  • What is in seconds, minutes, centuries, and seasons, and not in years, days, or decades? – The Letter N
  • What has six faces and twenty-one eyes but cannot see? – Dice
  • I have hands but cannot clap. Who am I? – A clock
  • The more I add, the less you see. What am I? – Darkness
  • I have many keys but cannot open a door. Who am I? – A piano
  • What runs around the yard but does not move? – A fence
  • I lose my head in the morning and get it back at night. What am I? – A pillow

You could consider mixing easy and challenging thought-provoking riddles.

Check out this list of the best riddles for adults at work.

20. Birthday Line-up

The birthday line-up is a fun interactive idea for small groups. You can let attendees line up depending on the birth date and month. However, you could add an exciting twist where attendees must silently carry out the activity. Instead, teams can use facial or hand gestures to figure out where they will stand. Once the line-up is complete, then you can let participants introduce themselves and mention birth dates and months. The birthday line-up is one of the best networking games to foster teamwork and quick thinking skills.

Conclusion

With networking being a key motivator for event attendees, event planners often have difficulty selecting fun activities that will get attendees to interact. Networking activities provide an excellent avenue for attendees to create new business connections, get career growth insights, and obtain new knowledge. Whether you are hosting networking events, conferences, or work meetings, including games and fun activities will positively contribute to the success of your event. You can browse our list of professional networking opportunities and try ideas that appeal to the demographic of your guests.

Next, check out corporate event ideas and conference breakout session ideas.

FAQ: Networking event ideas

Here are answers to common questions about networking event ideas.

What are networking events?

Networking events are activities that help attendees to relax and interact easily with each other. With the right networking ideas, attendees are more likely to foster lasting friendships and business partnerships and have a positive event experience.

What are some good ideas for networking events?

In group setups with unfamiliar faces, breaking the ice remains challenging for most event attendees. Having tricks and fun activities to promote introductions and conversations is vital to the success of an event. Some good ideas for networking events include speed networking, storytelling sessions, and icebreaker questions.

How do you make networking events fun?

Networking activities are a sure way to facilitate attendee interaction. However, picking the right activity or game that will captivate your attendees may not always be easy.

Here are tips that you can use to make networking events fun:

Choose activities that require active participation- While the concept of networking is vital in making human connections, talking to strangers may not appeal to all participants. You can lean more towards activities requiring participants to partake in fun activities that spark conversation.
Break participants into smaller groups- While networking in large groups may still be effective, dividing attendees into smaller groups makes it easier for participants to mingle. It may also be easier for participants to remember details given by a few attendees.
Provide forms of entertainment that every participant can enjoy- If you are hosting a new team, then you may not be familiar with the ideal entertainment. You could carry out a survey or opt for activities that appeal to a wide demographic.

Be sure to get an ideal venue to accommodate your choice of networking activities.

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Author: Grace He

Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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