When you attend a well-planned networking event, you gain more than just a pocket full of business cards. A successful networking event encourages meaningful connections and the exchange of relevant insights.
When you host a valuable networking event, your attendees will remember you and your business. You’ll set a good impression for bringing the community together and fostering connections.
How do you throw a top-notch networking event? We created this guide to show you everything you need to do to host a networking event that brings value to your attendees, and also gain awareness for your own business.
Define Your Networking Theme
A crucial step in planning your networking event is to pick a theme. Figure out what industry your event will be centered around, as well as the type of people that you’ll want to target. The theme of your networking event will likely be related to what you do and the audience that you can bring value to. Try to be specific, while not excluding the type of attendees that you want. For instance, “Filmmakers Networking Event in Wynwood” versus a vague title like “Miami Networking Event.”
Pick the Right Venue
Your event venue can either make or break your networking event. Some things to consider when choosing a venue:
- What’s the layout like? We recommend hosting your networking event in a venue with an open plan. That way attendees feel free to wander the space and mingle, rather than feel boxed in by rows of folding chairs.
- Does it allow food and drinks? Refreshments help to create a more comfortable event for your attendees. Make sure to check whether the venue allows event catering and has the space to accommodate a bar or food table.
- Where is it located? Accessibility is also something you want to consider for your event venue. Try to pick a central location to hold your event so that it doesn’t become an obstacle when people are trying to decide whether to attend.
If you’re planning to host your networking event in Miami, our event space is centrally-located and beautifully designed so you can host a unique event that everyone can easily get to.
Get the Word Out
Once you decide your networking event’s theme and venue, it’s time to get it in front of your target audience. Create an event on Facebook, as well as Eventbrite and Meetup. If you have a Google My Business account make sure to create an event there too so that people who are searching for your brand can see what upcoming events right on the search results page.
Once your event is created on those sites, use the link to promote on your social media pages. Post to both your brand and personal accounts; that way, you can reach the widest audience possible. Even if your personal network isn’t related to the industry that the event is for, your contacts may know people who would be interested in attending the event.
If you have a budget to work with, you can sponsor your social media post to reach more people. You can do this even on a budget as small as $5/day, and make a huge difference in turnout.
Break the Ice
One of the main reasons that networking events get a bad rap is the potential for awkward silences. The best way to warm up your audience for networking is with an icebreaker to kick off the event. Some effective icebreakers ideas include a workshop led by yourself or another industry expert, a Q&A panel discussion, or some sort of presentation such as a film screening or art exhibit. Starting off your event with a thought-provoking presentation will serve as a conversation piece for your guests so that they have a common topic to break the ice.
The Bottom Line for Networking Events
While a lot of work goes into throwing a successful networking event, the rewards for you and your guests make the effort well worth it. If done right, your networking event can bring people together while also building awareness for your brand. With these tips in hand, you’re ready to host an event that will bring value to your guests and your business.