High-flying professionals can push their careers forward by making important connections. Networking events present an excellent opportunity to build professional relationships outside the walls of your current office. This can create exciting paths for advancement and collaboration. Consider hosting your networking event as a leader and facilitator in your community. Keep the following tips about ghosting a successful event in mind.
1. Prepare the Venue
Set the scene for happy participants and choose an appropriate venue. Think about the amount of space that you will need for participants to move comfortably. Always remember to evaluate the indoor and outdoor spaces for accessibility concerns. Check the illumination and consider adding better led canopy lights to aid in communication and help participants make great first impressions. Ensure that the capacity and capabilities of your venue align with the expected attendance numbers and demographics of your audience.
2. Consider Logistics
Think about how your participants will get to the venue and for how long you will need to reserve the space. Look at factors such as the ease of finding parking and proximity to reliable public transit. Consider where people may stand to arrive and depart via rideshare vehicles. Improve the visibility of your venue and address any issues that could confuse participants as they arrive.
3. Enable Easy Registration
Create a shareable online registration form. A good event registration form will collect data that informs your other planning decisions, such as ordering food or modifying the layout. Request that interest parties RSVP by a certain date so that you can provide the right amount of refreshments, seats, and reserved parking spaces. Post quick links to the registration form on social media.
4. Send Detailed Confirmations
Once participants register, you need to send a detailed confirmation email with any information that they need before the event. Think about providing guidance about expected attire, accessibility, venue location, and featured speakers. Anticipate questions and try to answer them in the first confirmation message. Send reminders on the day before and the morning of the networking event so that busy professionals do not forget.
5. Use an Event App
Centralize your event information and activities in an app. An event app can help you to provide vital updates and communicate with participants. Your app can include written discussion forums for participants to stay in touch. This app can be updated and used for additional events in the future. Film event presentations and post them in the app as a value-adding resource.
6. Make Participants Feel Welcome
Meet each participant as they enter the event and provide name tags. Simple name tags are an easy way to facilitate professional interactions. Your first job is to help participants shake off their nerves at the door and feel equipped to enter discussions. Provide paper or virtual programs with the order of activities and menu.
7. Help New Participants Make Connections
Watch out for participants that appear to be hesitant or shut out of conversations. Paying attention to the arrivals can help you to bring specific parties together. Think about which participants can provide value and inspiration to each other. Look for participants who work in the same or complimentary industries.
8. Provide Food and Beverages
Your participants need food and beverage refreshments to stay alert, engaged, and in good spirits. Serve small plates or finger food that allows mingling to continue. Mark dishes with common allergens and provide alternatives for participants with known dietary concerns. Moderate the amount of alcohol that is served.
9. Create a Mingling-Friendly Layout
A room full of tables and chairs can restrict movement, so your layout may need to change. Move tables to the sides of the space and create an open area for mingling. Place tall bistro tables throughout the space so that participants can rest their plates or glasses. Designate a seating section if you plan to have a speaker.
10. Plan an Ice Breaker Activity
Fun icebreaker activities prompt participants to share their personalities and skills naturally. Help the room relax and erase any awkward tension.
11. Feature a Brief Presentation
Invite an industry speaker to give a brief presentation. Their name on the registration invitation could draw in participation for your event. Consider hosting a presentation that provokes amiable discussions.
Your engaging networking event can help professionals to build fulfilling careers.