How to make professional networking less awkward and more fun

We’ve all endured the typical “networking event,” where we sip cheap, insta-hangover wine in faded hotel bars, squinting to recognize potential “strategic connections” from their years-old LinkedIn photos.

Thankfully, a new app has thrown down the gauntlet against the mind-numbing drudgery of that whole scene. Available on iPhone and Android, Wavework takes the “work” out of networking and renders business cards and Hello! My Name Is badges obsolete. The app was specifically designed to link like-minded individuals at events of both the “business” and “pleasure” variety in order to facilitate more meaningful professional connections.

Wavework was conceived by New Jersey-based businesswoman Jessica Gaffney during a 15-year career working with elite patrons in sports, entertainment and hospitality. While managing the wants and needs of luxury suite holders, Gaffney realized that she was unable to satisfy their greatest need of all: identifying which other top executives were also at the game and the business opportunities they might offer. Wavework seamlessly fills this gap in event technology by enabling real-time engagement and providing powerful analytical tools.

The idea behind the socially innovative app is to use GPS technology to leverage the collaborative power of communities to reach targeted audiences in real time — and to serve as a welcome antidote to awkward and time-consuming “traditional” networking.

Using geofencing, Wavework allows users to “see” one another at all types of events — from baseball games to fashion shows, concerts to conferences — without spilling over into unwanted audiences. With filtered searches and in-app messaging, it inserts you, the user, into the heart of any occasion’s Who’s Who.

Since its launch in February, Wavework has proven its potential at events like the March Madness games, World Golf Championships and the SXSW festival.

Wavework is free to download and use. Simply install it and create a profile, all in under two minutes. Upon arrival at an event, just check in on the app, and instantly you’re connected to all other checked-in attendees — now you’re in the loop.

Once you’re in, you’ve got the power to search people’s profiles by company, job title, career level and more, and to directly message them, which is way less intrusive than in-person “You must be …” intros and embarrassingly mispronounced names.

Wavework allows you to network with all attendees at an event rather than just the handful you might actually chat with in person. Wallflowers will welcome its more subtle interaction options, such as “waving” at fellow users or liking and commenting on their in-app status updates, while the naturally chatty will appreciate the focused approach Wavework facilitates, saving them from squandering well-rehearsed introductions on uninterested parties. You can even keep in-app tabs on specific people, and Wavework will notify you when these potentially valuable connections check in to the same event.

With easy message archiving and note-keeping, Wavework makes the days of scribbling email addresses onto napkins — and then promptly losing them — seem quaint and distant. And if you didn’t have the chance or chutzpah to communicate on the night of the event, fear not: You can still see who checked in at a particular event afterward and message them later to reminisce over that buzzer beater or to set up lunch.

Wavework is already revolutionizing networking and will soon be available at all events. Now all we need is an app to replace that cheap boxed wine with an endless supply of vintage Malbec, and the transformation of networking events will be complete.

 

—Paul Rogers for Wavework

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