When planning a networking event your goal is simple: boost engagement and help your guests get the most out of the event! There are many things to consider when planning a networking event and several mistakes to avoid. Practical tasks including the organisation of food, drinks and marquee hire are easy.
What can be difficult is creating the right atmosphere for your guests to get the most out of your event. Read on to find seven key tips for planning a successful networking event that will leave your guests mingling and connecting.
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Using a premade registration app or other online networking tool is important to allow your attendees to register easily. Registration in advance allows you to estimate the attendance ahead of time and prompts an early commitment from your attendees. Being able to estimate your attendance before the event day is also important in order to stick to a budget and finalize catering, seating and other necessary services for the event.
Before looking for possible event venues, it is important to consider the facilities you will need to accommodate your planned event and how many guests you expect to attend. Visiting the venues in person, ensures that you can accurately evaluate the premises and the amenities offered. Hiring a marquee is another popular choice employed by event planners for networking events.
For a networking event to be truly successful, you need to get the word out. However, it is important for networking events to selectively advertise to those within the targeted industry. Social media, emails and LinkedIn are all great ways to find your target attendees, and entice them toward your networking opportunity.
Nearly 70% of event professionals adopt mobile apps for their event. Mobile apps allow you to engage with your attendees before the event by sending announcements and event timetables. After the event your attendees can use mobile apps to exchange business cards and stay in touch. Networking events are all about business connections, so it is important to utilize technology throughout the event planning process.
A relaxed and fun atmosphere is essential to get your guests mingling. Getting creative with drinks, food, decorations and music is a great way to add “wow” factor and to provide an icebreaker for your networking event. Inviting a band and adding fun elements such as a photo booth are two simple ways to get the party (and the networking) started.
Creating an event timetable that can be shared with your guests before the day of the event is vital to a successful networking event. A timetable ensures that you guests come prepared to the event and know what to expect. If multiple activities are available, an easy to read timetable ensures that your guests can choose the activities that best suit them, and can navigate the event without getting lost. Before the event, you can also let attendees know who else will be attending and what their professional background is.
An event timetable can also help you finalize the number of activities and speakers that are required. One of the worst things that can happen is for people to leave early. Having an exciting event timetable ensures that your event is engaging throughout. You can also add some incentives to keep attendees until the end, such as having a prize drawn at the end of the evening.
Organize volunteers to be anchors for your event. Their job is simply to get everyone talking. Finding volunteers who are great connectors and take an interest in others is a great way to bring your guests together and to ensure that everybody is talking and connecting.
Even if you are not charging for the event it is a great idea to have your attendees check in. This way you can track how many people actually attend, follow up on their experience and announce future events through their supplied contact details. Have plenty of pens and name tags available, and make sure the person welcoming attendees is friendly and professional.
Creating an atmosphere that facilitates networking, will keep your guests coming back to your next events. Providing a fun and comfortable environment for mingling is vital to ensuring the success of your networking event. Happy planning!
Bio: Laura Costello is in her final year of a Bachelor of Law/International Relations at Latrobe University. She is passionate about the law, the power of social media, and the ability to translate her knowledge of both common and complex topics to readers across a variety of mediums, in a way that is easy to understand.