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Come up with a creative way that gets people at a party/event to socialize with strangers

Image credit: https://trivworks.com/2017/05/networking-event-activities-trivia/

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Povilas S
Povilas S May 03, 2022
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How can hosts of a party or other social event encourage the attendees, who are strangers to each other, to actively socialize, making the whole event more enjoyable for everyone? Let's think of more creative means than giving them alcohol or/and drugs.
Preferably, this has to be done in a subtle, but effective way, meaning people shouldn't be forced too much to communicate, not to make the atmosphere tense, but it shouldn't be too loose too so that guests couldn't just ignore the encouraging factor easily.
Socializing games, like this one, where everyone at the event is involved, are a good example.
What else?
9
Creative contributions

Collaborate to solve a puzzle and pick the next song

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Michaela D
Michaela D May 11, 2022
There is a music station where people can pick the next song, like a jukebox. To play a song you need to solve a simple puzzle on a screen. The catch: to solve the puzzle you need at least two sets of hands, so you need to ask someone to help you. The puzzle will be quick enough and fun. By collaborating and laughing together people will come closer and it will be easier to start a conversation.
Alternative: the puzzle is a few (3-5) trivia questions that require different expertise either professional or from hobbies (science, engineering, literature, videogames, cosmetics, sports, arts, etc). Ideally, you need input from both ladies and gents ;-). Questions are fast so no time for googling.
The music station can be as simple as a laptop that locks until you solve the puzzle. If there is no next song selected music keeps playing a playlist (we don't want to kill the party!).
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Povilas S
Povilas S17 days ago
Good one, thanks!:) It's a good starting idea and I think it could be improved to achieve better results.
I think the song-picking part of the process might be even more important with regard to socializing than the puzzle-solving part. If two people are solving the puzzle, it seems fair for them both to decide which song to pick, this would require some collaboration and talking about their musical tastes.
There could be a rule that you can't pick a song again if you're collaborating with the same person. For each new song you want to pick you have to find a different partner. The rule should perhaps also state that if either of the two people in the pair already picked that song before, that pair can’t ask for it again.
Fulfilling the above-mentioned rules would require one or a few people standing at the “jukebox” and keeping a record of who chose which song, which people have already been in pairs, etc. The ”staff” responsible for this could take a polaroid picture of each pair that came to pick a song, write the name of the song on it and hang it on a big board to showcase.
The main issue with this method is that not everyone at the party might be interested in music enough to come and hang at the jukebox. Maybe the organizers should push things a bit by informing that “everyone should participate” or giving a free drink each time for anyone who did.
The polaroid pictures I mentioned above could also serve as a very nice incentive. At the end of the party each pair can come and pick their photo (there should be two copies of the same picture to give to each person). It would serve as a nice postcard to remember the party and time spent with that person (even if very short). Two people could also exchange contact details on each other’s “postcards” if they wished to keep in touch.
Another slight issue with this approach is that it gets people communicating in pairs, so we miss the fun of people communicating in groups. The puzzle could require more people to be solved, as you suggest, but then it would also be more complicated for them to agree which song to pick.
The jukebox system should allow putting the desired song to the play queue, not only to play it instantly, this would encourage people to gather at the jukebox and start queuing for their turn and talking among themselves. There could also be a big sign hung over the jukebox with an arrow pointing down, saying “a place for music and socializing” or something like that. The jukebox should preferably stand in the middle or at the side of a dedicated dance floor.
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Povilas S
Povilas S17 days ago
The same system could be applied for those who want to sing karaoke in pairs or groups.
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Michaela D
Michaela D16 days ago
Povilas S I like very much your polaroid idea! The polaroid photos can hang somewhere nicely during the party and people can take them before leaving. This will encourage others to go to the jukebox and have their photos taken, as well (you can always opt-out of having your photo taken).
Also, guests who are not interested in picking songs can participate by taking polaroid photos of the groups while they are solving puzzles or picking songs. Or, we could even make it even broader and have a polaroid photo competition. In this case, photos can be anything related to the party (people dancing, discussing, and general). Each person interested can use the polaroid for a specific amount of time. Everyone can see the photos printed and participate in the competition. This will encourage more guests to interact with each other.
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Drinkpooling

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola May 05, 2022
Allow ordering a drink only if you are in a group of 2 or more.
Similar to carpooling, "a sharing of car journeys so that more than one person travels in a car ", a bar could insist on people ordering a drink only if they are coupled with one or more persons. Yes, these people could know each other and skip the meeting part. To overcome this problem, the bar could be advertised as a meeting place for travelers, solo players, or just people wanting to meet someone. Also, by having more people ordering drinks at once, the bar could be more efficient in serving drinks and the average waiting time would reduce.
Ordering a drink only for somebody else
An alternative could be that a person can get a drink only if the other person orders it for you. That way we could incentivize people to share things that they like, which could be an ice-breaker for further conversation.
Ordering and paying for somebody else's drink
A more extreme version could be that if someone wants a drink, it needs to meet someone who will both, order and pay a drink for them. That way people would be buying drinks to others, spending the same amount of money, while meeting people.

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpool

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Povilas S
Povilas S17 days ago
I like the idea in the last paragraph the most:)
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Call out openly for the best 'one-line openers'

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Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain May 03, 2022
Whenever at such a party, team up with some individuals and announce an impromptu fun competition to come up with the best one-liners/ pick-up lines that you would use to start a conversation with someone you find attractive. Organise an instant voting system and offer some kind of reward to the winner. This way, people might join in, and all the while through the game, there will be laughter, anticipation and a lot of interaction.
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A default game of memory that everyone is signed up for at check-in

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 04, 2022
By default, as soon as people check in they are automatically eligible to participate in the game of memory but with people.
A game that gets everyone at an event talking to one another. In the end, you draw a paper with 2 topics on it. You win if you're the fastest to locate the two people who are passionate about the topics you drew. I describe how it works here.
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Shared tables

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw May 11, 2022
Not giving people the option to form their own little groups and converse with only the people they know should help. I know of a bar where (due to the lack of space, not some master plan to get people to interact) there are only two long columns of communal tables. This means that when the place is full, everyone is sharing a table, which leads to people conversing with whoever is next to them.
This idea could even be augmented by introducing some "musical-chairs" system, where people are assigned to different seats for a period of time and then rotate throughout the evening.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni18 days ago
Good idea! There are some old snack bars and local restaurants in India where table sharing is common. If there are four seats at a table, and you and your partner occupy two of them, there is a good chance that two others join you at that table in such bars. Such places rarely serve whole meals, only quick bites and beverages, and hence, the turnover is quite high. Working people ususally visit such places for a quick sip of tea or some afternoon snacks. Most are, therefore, in a hurry. There, it is common to acknowledge the other person's presence. People talk about the weather or politics at the very least. A few choose to ignore but do not mind other people sitting next to them. Those who mind do not come to such places. However, this type of arrangement is limited to only a few old establishments. All new establishments do not allow this for customer privacy.
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Subject-specific treasure hunt

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni May 11, 2022
Each table at the event hosts a separate treasure hunt game. The clues are kept on the table. You do not need to travel for this treasure hunt. The first answer unlocks the second clue either via an app or the bartender/ party organizer hands over the next clue when you provide the right answer. Everyone at the table works together to find the answers.
The clues are subject-specific. For example, one of the tables has "sports-related clues", the other has "engineering-related clues, "medicine-related clues", etc. When you walk into the bar, you sit at the table with your favorite subject. You get to know the other people at the table and start playing with them. Since you have a common topic, it acts as an ice-breaker. You play the hunt and if your table wins, you get a free round of drinks. If you don't, you still get to know people who share at least one similar interest.
To make things more interesting, you submit your phone at the entry point and collect them only when you leave. This way, you may not Google for answers and also spend more time talking to your group.
There could be a few "miscellaneous" tables for "jack-of-all" kind of people. These tables may have clues on random subjects.
Based on experience, the organizers could add multiple tables related to the same subject and omit a few other less popular subjects. The tables should have around 6 to 8 chairs.
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Center table is for socializing

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni May 11, 2022
People enter the bar/ event with their friends and occupy tables. There is a center table with 6 to 8 chairs, which is empty. Every once in a while, the bartender calls out for people "who have fooled around at Disneyland", similar to the game "never have I ever". Instead of taking a shot, those people who have done the mentioned thing gather at the center table and tell their stories leading to the incident. This thing that they have in common acts as an ice-breaker. To motivate people to gather at the center table, they are offered 1 free drink of their choice at that table. If the group hits it off, they can share contact details and plan to meet again someday. They get to hang out for half an hour and then the bell rings. Then, the bartender calls out for another bunch of people who have done some crazy stuff. If none respond, easier commonalities could be used like "people wearing white shoes". People come to an event to spend time with their friends, too. This kind of setting enables them to go back to their original table and hang out with their friends, too.
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Twin-picking

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni May 11, 2022
At the entrance, the organizers click a photo of you and write down your name. Every once in a while, they call two people who they think look alike. They may use a software that scans the photos and gives pairs of similar-looking faces. The pair is then called upon to dance to a song. After the song is over, they may choose to sit together and talk or go back to their original tables.
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Earn tokens for drinks tokens by talking to new people

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Michaela D
Michaela D May 12, 2022
To get a drink you need to pay with tokens. You earn tokens by talking to new people. After discussing with a person you just met, you prove to the token man (or barman) that you know a few things about each other. The amount of tokens you get depends on how much you know about the other person.
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Michaela D
Michaela D16 days ago
I thought I posted it on time but apparently, I did not press "Post your contribution" 😅 It's not for the bounty anymore but at least you get to see it now!
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General comments

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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic24 days ago
Take everyone's car keys at the door, mix them up and hand them out randomly. You have to approach people to get your car keys back.
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Povilas S
Povilas S24 days ago
Goran Radanovic Or someone could just drive out with a better car :D It's a creative idea, but I think it would cause too much fuss and make too tense of an atmosphere not suitable for fluent socializing:)
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