With clients being time poor, very selective with which events you will go to andB the day of supplying a glass of wine and nibbles in a meeting room of a hotel have long gone for networking events.B Here are my top ten ideas for delivering a successful networking event:
1.Choose the right venue b Why would your guests want to come?B Is it topical, engaging and will it appeals to your guests? Knowing what your guests is like key. A unique venue with a temporary attraction.
2. How many guests will be coming b is the space flexible?B It can be very hard to work out how many guests will come. There are so many factors out of your control, however some are not i.e are there any large sporting events on? Any strikes likely? Kids off school? Find out if the venue has adaptive spaces so you can ensure you are not losing atmosphere or your guests are not crammed in like sardines in a tin!
3. Get the times rightB – Most clientb s finish work about 6.45pm so start the event as near as possible to this. About 7.30pm is a good time and keep it short.B Clients are more likely to come if they know that the event will be finished by 10.30pm – 11.00pm.
4. Itb s all about location, locationB b Everything and itb s the same relates with a venue. If itb s near a tube station with easy access to major train stations clients are more likely to come.B Ideally stick within areas that are well established, the b up & comingb areas may work for a young media type group but it will put off some types of clients i.e. large corporate.
5. Perfect the right menuB b Most clients grab a sandwich at their desk at lunch. If you want to encourage guests to stay then offer substantial food that is easily eaten.B It should also be easy to eat ideally in one mouthful.B You also need to communicateB what food youB are servingB on the invitation. You need to bribe guests to come!
6. Offer some unusual drinksB b Offer some unusual soft drink options not everyone wants to stagger home on a school night.B Best summer/ winter cocktails for some inspiration.
7. Pick the right entertainmentB b Try not to put a compilation CD on, the volume and tempo is NEVER right.B Have a lounge DJ who can orchestrate the vibe of the party/networking. Top Entertainment agencyB has also given you the best tipsB onB how to break the ice with entertainment for networking events.
8.B Is it clear your invitation is an invite?B Does it look appealing? Have you added a start and finish time?B Have you stated food and drink are being served (ideally stating substantial food).B The key question is would it make you want to come?
9. Manage your RSVPsB b Manage the list and connect with guests via LinkedIn or on social site. Call guests pre event to make sure they are coming.B Maybe send the menu the day before to entice them and to act as a reminder.
10. Make sure your networking is up to scratchB b Do you have the right skills to network?B Do some research pre event.B Have a look at the guest list and focus on ten clients maybe have a few opening lines.B Research the clientb s via LinkedIn or on social site.