A Networking Event Worth Talking About
Let’s face it; most networking events are forgettable. They have a lot of promise on the ticket price but never seem to deliver. Networking events have a habit of being quite dull, and with very little as a takeaway, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Events can make a significant impact on your business, your standing in the industry and your reputation. So you owe it to yourself, and to those you wish to work with to put together an event that is an antidote to the dull networking events that you have been to.
Don’t do a single thing without a clearly defined goal. Sure, you can have some great ideas on the spot, but unless that has a point – then it might just be a waste of cash and time. Think about what you want to achieve. Brand recognition? New business contacts for future use? Landing a few new clients? Think about it and write down your goal.
When you define what you want from the networking event you are hosting, you will be able to choose who to invite, who should do the talks, and which guest appearances will be more beneficial.
When it comes to promoting your event there are so many free options that you can leverage first – you might very little to no paid promotion. Use all of you available social media and funnel everything through to the tickets sales site. You can set up even pages on Eventbrite or Meetup to help boost visibility even more. Ensure that you are using LinkedIn too, as it is where a lot of professionals ‘hang out’.
Let’s face it networking can be boring. And if your format doesn’t allow people to take real breaks, that will compound the issue. We need to decide how the perfect event looks. What is going to work best for people who are attending? And if you’re inviting people you are already familiar with and are familiar with your company, you’re not going to work to keep their attention. If you are going for a 50-50 audience or a larger percent that don’t know you, or your business, you’ll need to make sure it’s interesting.
Plan in time to make a speech, and have plenty of promo materials out on the table. Custom water bottles can keep people hydrated throughout the day pens and notebooks allow them to make notes of people who they’ve met, and of course, have those all-important business card swaps box.
If you’re going to have a panel of speakers, try to make sure they are diverse, and have a range of opinions and experience. Your budget will dictate where you can host your event, the number of people you can cater to, and if you can actually afford any speakers or entertainment.
You should always factor in a reasonable ticket price though unless you have the money to host with paid tickets being essential.
Once your event is over, you must follow up with as many people as possible, even if you need to spend a few days emailing your gratitude for attendance. The idea of networking is to create meaningful connections, new clients, and lasting business relationships.