Business is, at its foundations built on relationships, regardless of if you are the CEO or the summer intern, the relationships you build are vital your business and your own personal future growth.
Networking can feel like the first day of school…but it doesn’t have to.
When putting on a networking event it is so important to give people a common ground. Something that can start conversations and relax the nerves…yes, this could be wine, however there are plenty of other things you can do.
Venue – your venue selection can make or break your event. Make sure there is enough room for people to circulate, but not too much for everyone to have a corner to themselves.
Food – tucking into a steak can be great, but not at networking events. You don’t always have to rely on canapes, platters and share boards create a central place for people to congregate and any conversation that starts about cheese is sure to develop into greatness. Just make sure you space them out so everyone isn’t focused on one place in the room.
Alcohol – Having a drink at an event is, to be honest most people’s version of ‘essential’, however think about your attendees and tone of the event. A pure networking event after work is perfect for a glass of wine or beer. A lunch time learning session with a quick networking slot scheduled in is not. Always remember that offering drinks at your events should include at a minimum tea, coffee and water.
Host – as the host business you should be the networking stars of the event, that’s why you have gone to great lengths to organise it. Make sure you have enough representation there to really work the room. And please, don’t forget the business cards!
And finally, the biggest one…
Branding – this is your event, make sure people know it! Ever been to a birthday party of a friend and you meet someone you don’t know? How did the conversation start? I’m going to guess it was ‘So, how do you know so and so?’. People have come to your event for a reason, either they have dealt with you in the past or plan to in the future. Having your branding throughout the room will keep you forefront in their mind. Get them talking to each other, your past clients are one of the strongest marketing tools you have, give them the opportunity to talk about how great you are.