On August 4th 2009, we held a ThinkBalm Innovation Community immersive professional networking event. A new community work product is now available: a four and a half-minute video about the event.
Hats off to the following contributors: Jeff Barr for the location on one of Amazon.com’s islands in the virtual world of Second Life; Jeff Barr and Joel Foner for footage and images; Keely Algiere for music; and Jonas Karlsson for the Poinky’s Pods speed networking tool. A very special thanks to all the presenters: Bill Krebs, Christopher Bishop, Christopher Simpson, Claus Nehmzow, Florence Chan, Jeff Barr, Jeff Bush, John Westra, Michael Sarchet, Paul Zonca, Peter Mills, Randi Kopp, and Richard Hackathorn.
The purpose of this professional networking event was to facilitate connections among Immersive Internet advocates, implementers and explorers. We designed the event to be fast-flowing and highly engaging. We held it during the middle of the workday eastern time. More than 70 people registered from all over the US as well as from Canada, the UK, France, Spain, and Hong Kong. We experimented with a new event format:
- 13 five-minute presentations. We invited attendees who had something to share (e.g., their resume or a job description) to sign up in advance to deliver a 5-minute talk about the work or talent they were seeking. Each presenter had their own presentation station. Event participants walked or flew from one station to the next on a structured tour. Each station had the presenter’s name on it with a link to their LinkedIn profile. Each presenter was permitted to use one image or 3D object as a prop.
- Speed networking. We held a half-hour speed networking session using a tool called Poinky’s Pods built by ThinkBalm Innovation Community member Jonas Karlsson. The tool seats participants with one other person for a five-minute exchange, after which all participants are automatically shifted to another random seat.
This was our first attempt at an immersive professional networking event and we learned a few lessons. The event took a lot of planning and preparation but it was well worth it. The two and a half hours flew by and feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive. On the down side, most of the people who participated were looking for work, rather than offering work – which was disappointing to some. Also, during the speed networking session the “cocktail party effect” was a bit too loud. People could overhear the voices of others in nearby pods and this was distracting. But overall the event turned out to be a very fun, engaging, and valuable way for people to make professional connections.
© ThinkBalm, 2008-2009. All rights reserved.
Filed under: 2. Blog articles