The reasons for a networking event are many, and the drawbacks that can come from them are few. Who wouldn’t want to meet with their fellow industry professionals, discover job opportunities through networking or have a great time with your own coworkers outside of the office? Networking events can be all this and more, so long as they are planned with care; though this is not typically as formal as a holiday party or fundraiser, hosting a networking event means putting your best foot forward to present yourself – and your company – in the best possible light.
Who To Invite
Networking events are generally a type of social event -it’s important to keep that in mind as you put together your guest list and send out your RSVPs. The spouses and kids should stay home for this one but don’t be afraid to liven up the event and approach influencers and heavy hitters in your industry. Networking events like these are your opportunity to show them your stuff, maybe even establish a working relationship, and energize your co-workers across the office with exciting new opportunities!
Location, Location, Location
Finding a space for your networking function is another crucial component for success. Finding accessible, interesting spaces is key. Make people want to come to your event by picking an exclusive venue, or an unexpected venue. Make it centrally located to where your guests will be coming from – this will ensure they will show up! Especially if your event is during the week after work hours, the closer the venue is, the more likely your guests will show and your event will be a success. Think about things like how much space there is, what kind of catering is offered, and AV requirements, if you plan on having entertainment or background music.
Yes, the primary reason for a networking event is to meet people. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun! Hiring entertainment for your guests can help to spice up conversation, make your event more enjoyable (and therefore more memorable), and even entice people into attending! Stick to something most everyone will enjoy, like a musical act or stand-up comedian. Or, if you really want to keep the event work-oriented, hire a motivational speaker to get your guests amped up and ready to conquer the world. Also, make sure to have a photographer around, snapping photos of your guests having a great time; these sorts of personal mementos can work wonders when it comes to following up with contacts afterward.
Now tell us: what sort of business mixers have you attended? Any that particularly impressed you? Any that you’ve had to host? Share your stories, and any tips and tricks you’ve got, in the comments below. And don’t forget to visit us on Facebook or Twitter for all the event planning info you need!