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Networking events can be an exceptionally effective way to boost your business. They give you a chance to meet new people, make useful connections with clients, suppliers and other business people. At networking events, we meet people that could be useful to us, we make friends and build support networks, and we learn. We learn more about business, the economy and things that we can do to move forward.
But, not all networking events are this effective. Some of them are, in fact, a complete waste of time. If there’s a shortage of networking in your area, you might consider hosting one for yourself. If you do, you’ll want to make sure it stands out from the others, and gives your attendees what they are looking for, or need to make their business a success. Below is a look at some ways to host a fantastic networking event.
Make a Great First Impression
As soon as attendees arrive at your event, they are forming an opinion. This first impression can set the tone for the whole event, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right. An excellent first impression gets people in the mood to communicate. It helps to break the ice and boosts the morale of your guests. They should walk in excited and eager to get started. Adding printed carpets for event decor and other touches can help you to get your first impression just right.
Invite Different People
One problem with hosting a networking event is that we tend to invite the same people every time. You might see the same people at most of the events that you attend, even if you a little further away from home. Often the best way to add something new is to reach out and invite new people. LinkedIn is a fantastic way to make contacts. Look at your connections, and their connections, and invite who you can, without worrying if you know them personally or not. Another idea is to ask all of your invitees to bring someone who they think might benefit from your event.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Food
Feed people and they will come. They’ll relax, and they’ll start to enjoy themselves. When this happens, they’ll communicate, they’ll open up, and they’ll begin to share ideas. Food and drink are incredibly powerful, and it’s often a good idea to time your networking event around a meal. A networking breakfast or lunch could be a great idea, even if you only offer a basic buffet.
Make it Easy
People won’t attend your events if they are hard work. Host them at an easy to reach location with plenty of parking. Send online invites, and use an app, or shared calendar to help them check-in, and to share information.
Speak with Everyone
As the host, you are the only person at the even who has had contact with everyone, or almost everyone, in attendance. So you need to lead the way and make the first moves. Take your time to speak with everyone, and make introductions as soon as people arrive. If you see anyone standing alone, head over for a chat, and introduce them to other attendees.