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The most effective way to grow your business is to network, network and then networks some more. Don’t believe us, just press pause for ten minutes and pose that same question to ask any number of business owners, forums and corporate consultant – the answer will be the same. Why? Because who you know far outweighs what you know. Period.
The only problem when it comes to networking is being taken seriously by those you want to talk to most. It is a credibility thing. Luckily for you, there was a simple way to fix this: hold your own networking event. Think about it. You become the host and you will get catapulted up the ranks and slapped with the label “business leader”.
Here is how you can pull off a successful networking event first-time around:
Make Attending Simple
This is probably the most crucial part of it all; having your attendees register in advance. That way you know that there are X amount of people committed to coming, which means you can plan your budget and your event much more accurately. It is also really easy to achieve with an app like Eventbrite. Not only is registering simple, those that sign-up also get a reminder by email.
Pick The Perfect Venue
The main things to consider here are price, accessibility, parking and the ambience of the space in general. Basically, you want to alleviate as many potential frustrations ahead of time. As a little tip, approach some of the nicer hotels in your desired location and find out what the minimum bar spend needs to be in order to get their lobby free of charge. Holding a networking event at their place is good for their business too.
Check People In
There is a bunch of reasons why having a check-in is beneficial, even if the event is free. First and foremost, it is for security reasons, especially with the state of current affairs, so speak to some security companies. Of course, it isn’t all negative because having a check-in will let you see the numbers and, if you ask for their email addresses as proof, you can follow up with attendees and announce future events. Don’t make too much fuss if they don’t want to hand over their email, though. Oh, and one more thing, make sure the person at check-in is warm, inviting and personal.
Your Role Is Huge
You have to meet everyone. That means everyone. Introduce yourself, make them feel comfortable and make sure the conversation is focused on what they do, not you. That is the trick. The better you are at listening, the better you are at conversations, which is how you want to be remembered. The other thing you need to make sure you are doing is connecting people with one another because that will be people’s measure of success when they walk away. Get the product designer in front of the patent attorney and the freelance copywriter in front of the marketing director. People are going there to network, so make sure that is happening.