Establishing your business and keeping it in the forefront by staying relevant through professional networking events is vital to the success of any business. We’ve got the tips you need to host successful networking events.
Plan Ahead of Time
Networking events need to be planned in advance so business professionals have enough time to put them on their calendars. Set dates for networking events at least eight weeks in advance. Consider using a registration app with email reminders to get commitments from attendees, so they can easily add the event to their calendars.
Make your networking event welcoming for all who attend. Designate volunteers willing to act as hosts to greet guests, and make sure they fill out name tags.
There will always be some participants at a networking event off in a corner standing alone. Solve this problem by finding volunteers well-versed in your business community to act as connectors, who work to introduce those not actively participating with others. Connectors can encourage guests to mingle and mix.
Encourage Participation at Professional Networking Events
Make sure you ask attendees to participate. If you’re giving away door prizes or other offerings in drawings, ask those who are coming to donate door prizes. Perhaps their companies will donate services as free prizes. You can also encourage guests to bring information about their company’s products and services.
Keep the Floor Open
Professional networking events are about walking, talking, moving and mixing. Don’t litter your venue space with chairs, which people will gravitate to for the duration of the event. Keep chairs to a minimum, and create an open space that encourages movement and mingling.
Warm Up the Room; Break the Ice
If your event needs a little boost, consider holding a networking exercise or “ice breaker” games. Consider asking each guest to meet three new people, and ask them to find out what they do. Find an interesting fact about those people. This helps people to open up and feel comfortable networking with each other.
Keep Public Speaking to a Minimum
Other than a brief welcoming speech, let the networking event be what it’s meant to be. Speeches detract from the event’s purpose, which is to let people mingle and network with colleagues.
Food and Beverages
A good networking event has great appetizers, as well as both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink options. A sit-down dinner tends to stop conversations and disrupt networking. Consider providing light hors d’oeuvres that are easy to hold and eat. You want bite-sized portions, so your guests won’t worry about making messes while they are eating. Waiters should frequently be in the area when food is served to take napkins and empty drink glasses from participants who should stay focused on the networking at hand.
Follow Up With Participants
Is your goal to continue to hold networking events and grow them? Then you’ll want to follow up with participants via emails or comment cards to see what they liked about the event and see if they have any suggestions for improvements. If you follow the feedback, you should see your professional networking events grow both in popularity and size.
Pick an Event Venue with Enough Space
Hosting your networking events at a venue with enough space is vital. Make sure you have enough space for people to mingle without feeling cramped or claustrophobic.
Centrally located near Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, The Roberts Centre is an ideal venue to host professional networking events. With more than 80,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, The Roberts Centre can accommodate events of any size. Friendly, professional staff are available to assist with event planning, audio visual and catering service needs.
Request a proposal for your professional networking events today. Contact us at (937) 283-3272 to schedule your event!Tags: networking events, professional networking events, Roberts Centre, wedding venue