Updated: Jun 9, 2022
Do you plan to host a networking event to expand your network or bond with like-minded professionals?
Good idea. Hosting a networking event can put you in an advantageous position as you are now connecting industry leaders and professionals with each other. You become the common link and very useful to them.
But hosting a networking event has its challenges. It is not as simple as hosting a luncheon, dinner, or conference. I call a networking event successful when it has all the right ingredients that encourage people to join, interact and benefit from each other.
Sharing a few important tips needed to host a successful networking event.
Step 1: Focus on a Specific Niche
Focusing your event on a particular professional community is a good strategy. The reason is that the members will have common interests and will be able to mutually benefit from each other.
Let's say, you host a networking event for fitness professionals. Then the attendees would be yoga enthusiasts, fitness trainers, health coaches, fitness bloggers, etc.
How you can make it even more useful for the fitness community?
Consider matchmaking between service providers and users by inviting health & fitness enthusiasts and helping both sides connect with the right fitness partners.
Step 2: Pick a Format
Small or large:
If you want to build deeper, more intimate connections, then you can host a small networking event. But if you want the attendees to connect and engage with more people, then plan on a larger scale.
Informal or formal :
Do you want a very formal business event for corporate leaders or a warm evening? Your food, fun, mood, interactions, and everything will need to be planned accordingly.
Step 3: Plan a Responsible Budget
Get a realistic estimate of your expenses.
Decide what your budget is.
List down every small cost.
Ask in the network if people are ready to volunteer for different responsibilities etc.
Stick to your budget, come whatever may.
This exercise will prevent you from overspending or incurring a loss.
Step 4: Lock Down a Venue
You need to pick a venue or you can opt for the online mode.
If it is an offline venue, reserving a venue well in advance will help you negotiate the price better.
When trying to get a venue that is beautiful and well-priced, please make sure that it is easily approachable, preferably on the main road so that people reach without struggle.
There are many options for online platforms - ZOOM mainly and others where you can easily get a large number of people attending at the same time.
Step 5: Prepare Your Guests list.
Prepare & share a list of attendees – and their backgrounds and interests – with all the guests beforehand. This will allow them to research and pin down potential connections.
Additionally, you can have an announcement for people’s ask during the networking event.
You can also share some tips and questions that will help people interact with other guests. This will increase the chances of your event being more successful.
Step 6: Promote Your Event
Of course, in order to make your networking event successful, you want it to run at full capacity.
Optimize both online and offline methods to reach out to prospective attendees. You can also promote your event using social media, online ads, WhatsApp biz, and LinkedIn groups.
Nothing like if someone in your team can give a follow-up call to your attendees and make sure they come. People really like it if someone calls after-sales and offers support from the event side.
Step 7: Recruit Anchors to Make the Event More Interesting
If your event includes entertainment and a large no of guests, and if you can afford it, think of getting an anchor or a facilitator on board. You will need someone with the right personality and high energy to keep the attendees engaged till the end of the event while you play the perfect host of your networking event.
Step 8: Follow Up with the Guests
The most important and the most neglected part is the post-event follow-up.
Check with your guests by sending a quick follow-up email the next day. Get to know what they enjoyed and what they thought could be better.
Make sure you respond to all the messages and stay in touch with the attendees. You can make the most of it by hosting this community either on a social media channel or mailing list.
So, ready to host a successful networking event?
Take care of all these factors and you are good to go. Share your experience with us about your own networking event.