Networking Event: Steps to Success
A successful networking event allows entrepreneurs to interact and discuss business opportunities. According to studies, 80% of professionals believe that career success can be elevated through professional networking. If you are interested in hosting an event to help you achieve your business goals, please read on for a step by step guide on organizing one.
Define the goals, audience, niche and expected outcomes of the networking event.
Take some time to sit down and think about why you want to host this event. What do you hope to gain from it? Will it be a large or small event? Answering these questions will help determine what kind of venue you should select. What type of entrepreneur do you want to attend this event? Powerful business people? Up and coming SME owners? Make sure you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and who you expect to attend. This step is crucial, and you should spend a significant amount of time planning. Planning is critical for a successful networking event.
Decide on the format and venue.
Is this going to be an informal event where a couple of friends meet at a bar? Or would you prefer a large event in a fancier venue? Ensure you understand your target group and think through what setting will facilitate communication between attendees.
Create a budget for the networking event
Create a budget once you have decided what kind of event you would like to host. Account for all costs, such as the rental cost of the venue and catering. Set aside money to pay staff salaries. Get a rough idea of the costs by asking for quotes from anyone working at your event. Ensure to set aside extra funds for emergencies. These considerations will enable you to host a successful networking event.
Set the time and date.
Once the planning stage is complete, select a time and date for the event. Leave enough time between the actual event and the time you pick the date to promote the event and address any issues. Venues double-booking clients is uncommon but be prepared for any possibility and have a contingency plan.
Promote the event
Ensure that everyone you want to attend the event knows when and where it shall be. If you must send invitations, this is the time to do so. Pass out fliers, send invitations, post about it on your social media accounts and encourage others to do the same.
Prepare your guests for the networking event.
Let your guests know what you expect of them. For example, you may send a guest list to attendees to let them know who is in attendance. The guest list gives them time to research who will attend the networking event. This is important to facilitate fruitful communication between guests.
Introduce guests to each other. Take the time to ensure everybody is comfortable, and conversation is flowing. Exchange business cards with attendees. This is your time to shine as a host.
Follow up after the networking event.
Once the networking event is over, follow up with anyone whose contact you obtained. The point of the networking event was to build relationships that may be of use in future. A relationship requires work, so please follow up and interact with people even after the event.
I have equipped you with the essential information to organize and host a successful networking event. All the best.
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