07 Jun 2021

Top 9 networking ideas to make your business event fun

Painted canvas of boats at sea as part of a team and networking activity

Team building events have a way of fostering a good work environment, but there’s a knack to pulling them off and getting everyone involved and interacting outside their comfort zones. Here are some activities that are guaranteed to create new or deeper connections.

Attend a cooking class

Learning how to make a new meal with your colleagues is a recipe for success, as it’s an engaging and hands-on learning activity with something delicious waiting at the finish line.

Challenge the team with an obstacle course

Tackling an obstacle course with your team has some tangible benefits. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it’s a good way to distinguish and discover your teammates’ different communication styles, how they respond to challenges, and how they overcome them together.

Solve problems in an escape room

Escape rooms are a fantastic way for your team to find out how each other’s brains work, as well as getting to harness their problem solving and lateral thinking abilities. The aim of the activity is that the team have work together to ‘escape’ as not one person is able to Nobody escape by themselves. The activity is a great opportunity for a team to put their heads together to discover new solutions.

Host a speed networking session

Based on the concept of speed dating but for professionals this is a concept event organisers can plan and host themselves with very little cost and resources. A great way to run this is activity is to arrange the room so that chairs are set up to allow attendees to speak one-on-one, and then place conversational prompts on each table. Set a timer for between three and five minutes; that’s generally enough to break the ice. This is a great activity to start a business event to stimulate discussion and creativity and break down barriers, and also at the end of an event to maximise networking opportunities.

Organise a treasure hunt

The opportunities to create valuable interactions through a treasure hunt are innumerable. Some of the most effective treasure hunts revolve around motivating teams to engage with one another and incentivising them to showcase their talent.
Spark their curiosity before the event by providing a themed dress code or asking different teams to wear a specific accessory. You can then ask each individual to find and start up a conversation with whoever is wearing that particular clothing item, which is a useful way to ensure that the right people to meet each other. You can also get them to know one another better by creating a challenge to find one shared interest or talent with each player and write it down.

To showcase talent, ensure you include creative challenges in your treasure hunt, such as getting teams to draw one-minute portraits of each another, act out impressions, solve riddles to discover clues and take engaging photography of landmarks around Sydney.

Play ‘on the fence’

This a great activity to help team members understand their similarities and differences. It involves drawing a line or putting a rope in the middle of a room. This is the ‘fence’, and to the left and right of it are the ‘true’ and ‘false’ sides of the room. Get your team to stand on the line and ask them basic questions such as ‘I have more than one sibling’, industry relevant ones such as ‘I like to work in a creative role’ or deeper ones like ‘I believe kindness is more important than intelligence’. Your team can move between the left and right sides of the room depending on their answers or keep standing on the fence if they’re neutral. The benefit of this game is the discussions it can spark, and the understanding of each others’ personalities to increase collaboration and play' ‘to each others’ strengths.

Get crafty

Whether or not your team are artistically inclined, an arts and craft class can help everyone unwind and engage their brains in a different way. The most successful arts classes for networking are ones that are easy enough for the whole team and also encourage conversation. Group pottery classes are entertaining for all involved, and your team can even create their own functional or decorative piece to take away with them. Paint and sip classes around Sydney have also taken off in recent years, as they allow artists and non-artists alike to have a drink and come away with something they’re proud of.

Try orienteering

Many networking events take place over drinks, but a pitfall of this is that sometimes guests only end up chatting to those sitting at their direct left and right. So rather than making drinks the centrepiece of your networking event – try doing it after a fun day of orienteering activities instead! Amazing Race-style team-building events are the perfect way for businesses to encourage staff to get outside and get engaged. The scavenger-hunt inspired structure can be customised to suit the strategic goals and management plan of each business, so business outcomes can be achieved while the team has fun together.

Volunteer for charity

Acting philanthropically doesn’t just do the community good, it also increases the bond between colleagues as they work on something that they’re passionate about. This might look like taking part in a fun run and raising money as a team, preparing meals for those in need or learning how to knit squares for a charity quilt.

Play sport

Sports are a great way to bring a team together, and there’s no better place for a team-building business event than booking into the Olympic archery facility at Sydney Olympic Park. The program in Homebush offers opportunities for businesses to build the event that best suits their needs, including self-catering, solo and group activities, and archery-based games that encourage teamwork, problem-solving and active communication.

The most memorable corporate events usually have a good mix of work and play, so give some of these networking ideas a go and see how they evolve your business occasion. If the thought of organising a team building activity yourself is daunting, never fear, help is at hand. Did you know there are a range of suppliers that specialise in helping you host and deliver the right team building activity to meet your business needs.

Connect with Sydney's best venues, hotels, conference suppliers, team building facilitators and more for your next business event in Sydney by using our free online Supplier Search.