by Matt Alderton | November 19, 2017
Networking events are supposed to help meeting attendees meet one another. As a meeting planner, that requires more from you than just reserving a room for people to mingle inside of; it also means infusing your event with conversation pieces that will help attendees start conversations and break the ice.

"Imagine all the wonderful networking opportunities that will never happen if you do not incorporate elements that will get attendees talking," Debra Dohnert, senior manager of meetings and special events for the Association of International Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), tells Successful Meetings Senior Editor Andrea Doyle.

According to Dohnert, one of the best ways to stimulate conversation is with food. In the past, for example, Doyle says she has used "the likes of color-changing spoons and straws, martinis paired with manicures, lunch served in individual wicker picnic baskets, and edible designer handbags and shoes, just to name a few."

"In the meetings industry, we have to constantly push the envelope. We have to be bold and daring with F&B," Dohnert continues. "I realize part of my job is to create conversation starters and memories. Nothing makes me happier than to have an attendee comment on the F&B at an event I orchestrated. That tells me that the F&B made a contribution to the dialogue of the meeting."

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Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
Contact Successful Meetings Editor in Chief Vincent Alonzo with your "How To" ideas.