Running The Best Networking Event
When it comes to running a great networking event, there are a few bases to cover. Even if you have attended plenty of them, and you think you know everything that is going to be involved – or maybe it is as easy as sending a facebook event invite out. You’re in for a treat.
Events can be monumental for your business, your reputation and your standing in the sector that you work in. But when it comes to getting it right, you need to start with the basics.
Before you start ordering table covers and wrist bands, you need to think about what your goals are for the event.
- What is it that you want out of this?
- Landing new clients, looking for future business partners, or simply just upping your brand recognition?
Think about it and write a few down.
By defining what you want from the evening, you will be able to work out who you should be inviting, both guests and appearance or talks.
Networking can be seriously boring, and your format will have a big part to play in this. You just need to decide how the event looks.
- What is going to work best for the people attending?
If you are inviting people who are already familiar with your company and what you do, you won’t have to work quite as hard to get your points across.
However, if you are working with a 50/50 audience, you’ll need to make a speech and have plenty of promo materials out on the tables. You might opt to have a panel of speakers and break-out sessions. Or perhaps you want something activity-based. Consider the attendees carefully before you make any decisions.
Your budget is going to dictate where you can host your event, the number of people you can cater for and if you can actually afford any speakers or entertainment. You should always factor in a reasonable ticket price though unless you have the money to host with paid tickets being essential. Consider outside sponsorship.
Remember that you ideally want people to walk away with your promo materials like keyrings, pens, and other cool stuff. 4allpromos.com offers sports bottles for examples – great to cater to the eco-trend of reusable water bottles.
Choose somewhere that fits your budget – of course, but also somewhere they lend itself to what you are doing. If you are hosting a sporting event, but you have a smaller corporate room, then you might be disappointed with what you can achieve. If you can give people the chance to visit somewhere that has an excellent reputation or has recently opened, then that puts you in good stead.
Time & Day
This is tricky because you will need to factor in the working hours of as many people as possible. You can be pretty sure that most people work 9-5 as standard and then a few hours either side of that is usual. You don’t want to have anything midday, because people will be clock watching and trying to get back to work.
Anything too late and people will need to peel off early to get home. A weekend if usually their free time, so your offerings better be good.
When it comes to promoting your event – free is better. You can leverage all of your social media channels and drive traffic to your ticket site.
Setting up a page on MeetUp or Eventbrite will help you will promotion too. Make use of LinkedIn, where a lot of business professionals hang out and share stuff.
If you want to drop some cash on an advert than make sure you take the time to use targeted advertisements rather than boost an older post. Check out industry forums, newspapers and hashtags too.
And it is essential that you personally send invites to people that you want to attend outside of the ticket buyers.
You want people to be able to mingle, talk shop, and have general conversations too. Yes, promoting what you do is the goal, but if people feel uncomfortable or rushed, they won’t be listening to what you have to say or having a good time.
Make the time to say hello to everyone that is attending, collect business cards, and chat about what THEY do, and they will naturally ask what you do. If you like, you can open a facebook group for attendees to share information before and after the event.
Once it is all over, it is up to you to follow up with as many people as possible – even if it is just to thank them for attending. You are looking to help people create meaningful connections and new clients, so keep it light and easy.
© New To HR