In life and business, it isn’t what you know, but who you know that matters. The connections you make and friendships you forge act as keys to the locked doors that so often sit between you and opportunities. It’s no wonder that 88% of professionals believe networking’s key to career advancement!
Are you thinking of capitalizing on that demand by hosting a networking event? Want to learn how to make it a raving success? Check out our guide on how to organize amazing networking events in 2021.
Identify Your Audience
The very first step is to decide who you’re going to invite. In other words, which groups of people are you trying to bring together? Maybe they’re young entrepreneurs seeking investment, top-level execs looking for business opportunities, or young mums looking to meet their neighbors!
Whatever the case, this realization is useful for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it dictates how and where you’ll market the event. For another, it’ll impact practical decisions, such as the venue, price of admission, and entertainment you provide.
Think About Format
Next up, ask yourself what type of networking event you want to organize. At the macro level, should it be casual or formal; themed or not? At the micro, consider the specific things you’d like to do on the night.
The world’s your oyster here! You could try a “speed dating” format, a general “meet and mingle” setup, or, for smaller groups, a more intimate “dinner party” style event.
Top tip: Never settle upon networking event ideas at random. You should always consider your audience and the number of attendees to ensure the format’s a good fit.
Name Your Price
Needless to say, organizing a networking event comes at a cost! You’ve got a venue to book, entertainment to arrange, a reusable name badge to design/commission, a set of invites to send out, and a marketing campaign to run. Having worked out the type of event you’re organizing, you should put some thought into how much it’s all going to cost.
From there, it’s a matter of raising the capital to pull it off. You could self-fund, call upon a company budget, acquire sponsorship from other brands, and/or sell tickets ahead of the event and use the proceeds. As you’d expect, the amount you can charge depends on a) the audience and b) whether or not you’re trying to turn a profit.
Handle the Logistics
With the details finalized and funding sorted, it’s time for the fun to start! Find and book the perfect venue, arrange the entertainment and catering (if you’re having it), decide a date/time, and then being the marketing process.
When it comes to how to promote a networking event, you can use Facebook, LinkedIn, professional forums, cold calls/emails, and old-school print marketing. For best results, though, always keep in mind where your audience spends their time and target your marketing efforts there.
Time to Organize a Networking Event
It’s hard to overstate the power of networking. Whether it’s in a professional or everyday context, you meet people and forge connections that can have a profound impact on your life! If you’re trying to organize a networking event for the people in your industry or local community, then we hope the insights in this guide will help.
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