Whether you are trying to grow and develop yourself personally or your business as a whole, networking is one of the best ways to do it.
It is a chance to meet and connect with like-minded people who, hopefully, will be able to work with or support you – opening up a wide range of opportunities.
It is vital that you are prepared and make a good impression when attending a networking event but if you are organising it, all eyes are on you, so this becomes even more important.
Ultimately you want to stay at the forefront of your attendees’ mind for all the right reasons – so, how are you going to do that?
Choose the right venue
The venue might seem insignificant but it is far from it. Hire somewhere too big for the number of guests attending and it will look empty but hire somewhere too small and your guests will be crammed in.
Don’t forget to take into consideration how easy it is to get there, what amenities are provided and so on.
If you can choose somewhere a little quirky and unique – perhaps related to the field your guests are in – you will be able to use it to build excitement ahead of the event and to create the perfect first impression when they arrive.
Invite the right people
For a successful event you need to invite the right people. Determine why you are holding the event – what do you want to get out of it? Once you know this you will be able to work out the best people to invite and from there can keep your guests in mind when planning to ensure the event appeals to them.
Determine your budget
Work out how much you have to spend and how best to do it. You don’t want to blow all your money on the venue and then not be able to afford food and drink. Create a spreadsheet to track your spending and update it as you go.
Hire a guest speaker
You want your event to be a memorable one and for your guests to go away feeling that the day has been beneficial. The best way to do this is by hiring a guest speaker who can pass on your key message as well as inspiring and motivating the attendees as they tell their story own story of success.
Promote your event
Make sure you promote your event as widely as possible – across social media and industry specific publications – to help reach out to more people, grow the guest list and increase excitement. During this time you might want to create a hashtag for wider exposure, encouraging those who attend to use it if they share photos or updates.
Show your face
The key to a successful networking event is to ensure that people actually network and make meaningful connections. So, make sure you know who is going to be there – what they do and who they might like to talk to – then you can be the one to introduce them and get conversations started.
The finishing touches
Don’t forget to organise food and drink. You don’t want your guests to start leaving because they are hungry or losing interest because they are gasping for a cup of tea.
Likewise, why not give them something to take away with them? This could be as simple as a goody bag with a pen and notebook that they can use throughout the day.
The event shouldn’t finish when the guests go home – this might meaning sending a follow-up email, perhaps with key information from the day. This will enable you to make an ongoing connection with attendees and perhaps even ask them for feedback to improve going forward.
Now you know how to pull off a successful networking event it’s time to start organising