Networking is a crucial part of business. Whether you started your company a long time ago, or you are just starting out, networking can be a powerful tool when it comes to learning, growing and setting up plans for the future. It’s a great way to meet new clients and suppliers, as well as people that could become a support network and boost your business in other ways. It’s a great chance to learn more about emerging and existing methods and tools and to learn from other people in your industry. If nothing else, it’s an excellent chance to make new friends and to speak to people who truly understand what you do.
Planned networking events are the ideal places to make these connections. But, they aren’t all equal. Sometimes, we come home from supposed networking events feeling as though we’ve wasted a day, we’ve lost money, we’ve learned nothing and met no-one that will have any impact on our businesses or our lives. These events can make you wonder if it’s worth attending in the future. Sometimes, the best way to ensure an event is worthwhile is to organize it yourself. Here are some tips to help you to make sure any event that you plan is worthwhile and helpful to everyone that attends.
Find the Right Venue
The venue can make or break an event. Do you want dinner? Drinks? A conference type feel? Will it be a formal sit down event, or do you want people to mingle as much as possible? The venue needs to be right to meet your requirements. But, it also needs to be in an easy to access location, and have parking and facilities. When you’ve found your venue, register for online event registration to make everything easier for you and your guests.
Invite the Right People
Remember, the whole purpose of a networking event is meeting new people. So, don’t make the mistake of only inviting people that you know, or that you have worked with in the past. LinkedIn connections are a great way to move outside of your direct circle. Or, ask your invitees to bring someone that will be interested along with them.
State the Events Purpose
The very best networking events, the ones that you come out of with new connections, new knowledge and new ideas, that leave you feeling excited and eager to get back to work, are the ones with purpose. They aren’t just general business dinners or meetings. They are events with a focus, where the guests share what they want to get out of the experience. Or, they fit a tight niche. Everyone attending is involved in a specific field or area. Think about what you want from the event, and make sure you advertise the purpose when you invite people.
There’s nothing worse than an event where no one talks. Where everyone sits or stands nursing a drink, making small talk with people that they already know. As the host, it’s your job to introduce people. Even those you don’t know. You invited them. You need to make the first move and facilitate introductions between guests.