Great networking events don’t just happen — they take a lot of consideration and planning.
Networking events are a great way to bring people together for a number of reasons: getting to know colleagues within a company, meeting new people in your industry, or getting face time with your business’s clients. If you are planning on hosting a networking event, keep these elements in mind to help ensure your event is a success.
1. Choose a location
Did you know that for free events (which a majority of networking events are), you can expect about 40 to 50 percent of registered guests not to show up? Want to ensure people come to your networking event? Host it at a venue that everyone wants to check out! Whether it is a new restaurant or a funky hotel, picking a venue people that want to go to will help you entice people to show up on the day of your event. Just keep in mind that the venue you do pick is conducive to networking — you’ll want enough space for people to move around and mingle!
2. Put together your invite list
Now that you have your event space, you’ll want to invite your guests. The kind of networking event will determine who your invitees are. If it is a company networking event, then you’ll want to extend the invite to everyone within your company. If it is an industry networking event, you’ll want to be sure you are reaching the right people in the industry who you want to attend. Whatever your demographic, you’ll want to be sure you send out those invites to the right people.
3. Have a hook
A good idea when planning a networking event is to have a draw to bring people in. Sometimes just face-to-face interaction isn’t enough! This can be as simple as advertising that food and drinks will be provided, to going even further to have a kind of entertainment or prizes to entice people to come. Anything that will help you promote your networking event as the networking event to be at would be helpful in this sense.
4. Market your event
The most important aspect of any event is the marketing you put behind it (ask anyone on the Tripleseat Marketing Team!). You’ll want to do a bunch of outreach via different marketing tools to make sure that you get the word out about the event. Put together an email invite to send out first — and be sure to include the benefits of attending your networking event, highlight any fun things you have planned, include the venue and time, and what other kinds of people guests can expect to meet. Don’t forget to post on your social channels (Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn are three of the top networks to use) and link to your events registration page to make it easy for people to click and register.
5. Help facilitate networking
When it comes time to host your event, do everything you can to make it easier for people to meet and mingle! Some ideas are to have name tags, include conversation starters on the table to help get people talking, and if you see someone who seems like they need help making introductions, be sure to introduce them to groups or another person.
Looking for the right venue for employee activities?
Check out EventUp, the leading global venue directory, for your venue search. EventUp makes finding an event space of any type or size easy. From bowling alleys to concert venues, and everything in between, EventUp has what every event planner is looking for.