« Brain Dates » At C2 Montreal 2016— Our Takeaways
Last May we attended C2 Montreal, a creative conference recognized by Bizbash as the most innovative conference of 2015. Our mission? What we do best… connecting thousands of attendees by helping them make meaningful connections through collaborative learning. After three intense days of dedicated work by our E-180 team, more than 2200 Brain Dates were booked at this unique business conference. The truth is, we’ve been powering Brain Dates at C2 Montreal for the past 4 years and could not be more proud of the results of this once more record-breaking year!
— Commerce+Creativity (@C2Montreal) June 2, 2016
“I love the concept of Brain Dating in general. Often you go to these events and want to talk to people, and it’s either happenstance or you have to stalk someone. This mutual ability to reach out is lovely.”
Gretchen Addi— Associate Partner / Portfolio Lead at IDEO / The Powerful Now
C2 is certainly a conference like no other, featuring world-renowned speaking such as Muhammad Yunus and David Suzuki. From a pool full of ping pong balls to experimental labs sessions, and mini boat rides perfect for conversations, the experience was set to be amazing this time again.
Our C2 challenge? Delivering meaningful and impactful B2B networking opportunities to their 4000+ participants. Like us, the C2 team believes connections are what makes a conference memorable and it surely did! Here are our takeaways:
The power of a conversation: when the magic happens
Many participants arrived at our Braindating Lounge, the space we designed to host Brain Dates, not knowing what to expect. Often time asking: How do Brain Dates work? How does one recognize their Brain Date counterpart? What in the world can be used as a conversation starter? For some people, there is nothing more stressful than the idea of networking.
However, after most of them had their first Brain Date, everything changed.
Once attendees find what they want to learn, who to meet and agree on a meeting time at the Braindating lounge, our specially trained matchmaking ninjas make sure to personally introduce them to each other so as to eliminate the awkwardness of the first encounter. For introverts, the fact that meetings are arranged around a predetermined topic definitely helps in terms of finding the right words and the courage to open themselves up to the person in front of them. Then, the magic happens. There is something magical about connecting two liked-minded people, interested in the same topic, and having booked a specific time in their busy schedule to share or glean knowledge from a total stranger. Insightful conversations, unlocked opportunities, shared experiences successes and failures. A mix of important elements that definitely makes them come back; this time with a smile on their face and excited to meet the next “in the know” person who might change their world upside down and that they probably would have never met otherwise.
“ I did watch a few talks but honestly, the big thing is the Brain Dates. Brain Dates eliminate the one thing that nobody likes about meeting people at conferences: the initial approach. If we could have this at every business event I attend, that would be awesome. »
Marc-André Lanciault— CEO, Karelab
“Brain Dating changed the whole experience. What is the purpose to come here but to meet people you can learn something with? When you sit and listen to a talk you get an insight or two, but it’s usually not focused on what you are specifically interested in. This is a way to really upgrade our activities. It creates intimacy in a second.”
Niv Horovitz— Co-founder at WeStart
“I come to C2 every year for the creative group of people. The Brain Dates help me meet people in different verticals. Brain Dating opens you up within the conference and allows you to start conversations you wouldn’t normally have. This changes the entire mood, and helps open your mind in a different way.”
David Usher— Founder, Human Impact Lab – Author, « Let The Elephants Run »
The importance of the space: Learn while you wait
What do we usually do when we have to wait? The easiest and most common thing is talk on our phone, scroll through facebook notifications or get lost in our never-ending email inflow. Sounds familiar? Well, at this year’s edition of C2, we made sure to implement a different behaviour and to design an experience that involved learning at every step of the process. Once checked-in with a matchmaker and assigned to a waiting area, participants waiting for their Brain Date counterpart actually engaged right away in a conversation with other “waiting” participants, which most of the times resulted in spontaneous Brain Dates.
So… How did this happen? Well, we changed the waiting area a little bit. We added several meeting points inside the Braindating lounge and assigned participants to each of them. Waiting in a crowded room full of people craving to make meaningful connections made participants feel bound to talk to the person standing next to them. For our matchmakers, breaking such captivating conversations often made us feel sorry to interrupt when time came to introduce the actual planned Brain Date mate. We are definitely proud as so many spontaneous connections happened in that lounge!
“The Lesson: Be without prejudice. If you are open enough and you let things come to you, and are ready, you can start a true business relationship.
(We chatted while she was waiting for her brain date): Even though the meeting didn’t come, we were able to improvise and have a great meeting.”
Louise Guay— Director, Montreal Living Lab
— Ashley Wiles (@evaruns) May 25, 2016
That human touch: what makes all the difference.
— Rita Baker (@RBakerMarketing) May 27, 2016
A simple smile often makes all the difference in one’s day. This is something we actually heard repeatedly during our three days at C2 Montreal. The reason? Our always-smiling-and-ready-to-help matchmaking squad perpetually warmly welcomed participants and made sure they made the most out of their networking experience by meeting the most relevant people for them.
Individualized attentions, personalized Brain Date suggestions, thank you cards, sorry-you’ve-been-stood-up consolation gifts all earned us wonderful “this is so thoughtful guys!” comments and trust us, it made our day as well!
“The value is really in Brain Dates, the experience has been very beneficial to my business. It connects me with people who have insights into my industry and introduces me to new business partners. I also love how the matchmakers are so pro-active understand our needs and help us meet them.”
Yannick Veronneau— Co-Operators
There is so much technology can do and we’ve learned throughout the years that adding that human touch makes all the difference. The greatest reward there is for us simply relies in seeing people making the meaningful connections that will change the course of their lives and help them blossom into who they are meant to become!
Wondering how can you take the networking and learning experience at your next event to next level? Contact Us!