Engagement + Marketing

Can Artificial Intelligence Make You a Better Networker?

It might be better to skip the lunch buffet small talk and head straight for the app.

techsytalkLast Friday, Event Leadership Institute Executive Director Howard Givner took the stage at techsytalk LIVE 2017, a two-day event-tech conference in the heart of Midtown, New York.

In his session, Givner touched on topics ranging from drones to open-carry gun laws and livestreaming, and gave particular emphasis to the importance of facilitated matchmaking at events.

Facilitated matchmaking uses technology to give meeting attendees information about the interests and expertise of others, and links like-minded attendees. 

It’s a “game changer,” Givner said. “There are apps out there that give you the opportunity to meet the two to three people that you really, really want to meet,” he noted. “If I can do that through the app? Then that’s the entire value proposition of attending.”

He stressed the necessity of using events to leverage in-person interactions.

“Where do events differ from online learning? If it’s just disseminating content, people are just going to say—let’s do this online. What can we do in person that we can’t do as well — or at all — online?”

Givner wasn’t the only speaker with event networking on his agenda.

In his future-facing session “Robotics, AI, and Automation,” Social Tables CEO Dan Berger took event matchmaking a step further, predicting that AI would help augment in-person meetings by replacing decisions based on intuition with algorithms. 

“We’re always making decisions [about] people as if we know them. But why don’t we leave that to algorithms?” Berger challenged. “AI will make events better for everyone. You can start making predictions about cities, events, even people to meet.”

“Serendipity will be less successful than algorithms,” Berger said, as he launched into a colorful personal anecdote about unintentionally meeting a future business partner in the bathroom during an event. 

So the next time you’re trying to land an in-person connection at an event? It might be better to skip the lunch buffet small talk, and head straight for the app.

Jasmine Zhu