Networking events pose a particular set of challenges for the event planner. How do you make sure people attend? Participate? Get something out of it? Follow the steps below to run a successful networking event from start to finish!
Step 1: Have a clear purpose (1-2-3).
1: Set out exactly what your event’s goal is, and make sure it’s easy to understand. 2: Pinpoint exactly what makes this event relevant to potential participants. 3: Be able to explain why it’s special or different from other events.
Step 2: Make the attendees happy.
Always plan your event with your guests’ needs as the primary focus. Choose a format (freestyle meet-and-mingle, a talk followed by mingling, structured speed-dating-type activities, etc.) that will give your attendees the most value. The location should be somewhere convenient, with a comfortable and engaging atmosphere. As for refreshments, avoid anything that’s likely to get stuck in teeth.
Step 3: Tell people about it!
Send targeted invitations using Get Invited. Define a hook (do you have a VIP? Amazing venue? Fantastic food?) and work it into your marketing efforts. Use social media networks and influencers who will help spread the message that a can’t-miss event is happening.
Step 4: Be organised.
Even if the networking event is casual, the admin process shouldn’t be. Make sure the ticketing process is simple (like the Get Invited ticketing platform). If you’re using Get Invited, you can send out reminders for guests before the event. Also, make the invitations clear, with easy-to-follow directions to the venue, and a clear explanation of the format.
Step 5: Ease the awkwardness of networking.
Help guests feel comfortable by:
- Welcoming people in and asking their names.
- Letting participants know the event schedule right at the start.
- Remembering attendees’ occupations so you can introduce people with similar interests.
- Chatting with people who look uncomfortable.
- Offering refreshments.
Step 6: Think of the long term impact.
Give attendees something to take away from the experience, so they remember and draw from its value in the longer term. What really keeps an event present is ongoing communication. Continuing to use an event hashtag on social media after the event; membership to a social media group or email list are useful.
Step 7: Ask for feedback and follow up.
You can use Get Invited ticketing platform to send a short survey to attendees. Ending with a question like “Overall, did you enjoy the event?” is always good, because usually people do.
Do you have any tips for hosting a successful networking event? We’d love to hear it! Leave a comment below or tweet to us!