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Learn How to Host a Networking Event Using These 9 Tips
Are you looking to expand your professional network or grow your business?
Hosting a networking event is the perfect way to meet new people, share ideas, and build valuable connections.
However, organizing a successful networking event takes careful planning and execution.
From choosing the right venue to promoting your event, there are many factors to consider in order to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
That’s where we jump in!
We'll share 9 tips on how to host a networking event to make it enjoyable and productive for all attendees.
Let's get started!
9 Tips on How to Host a Networking Event Everyone Will Talk About
1. Plan Ahead
Nothing beats good planning and this is one of the crucial steps in your preparation because it will allow you to layout all the nitty-gritty details and leave no stone unturned.
The first step is to determine the purpose of your event and what you hope to achieve from it.
Are you looking to generate leads, promote your brand or simply connect with like-minded professionals in your industry?
Once you have established your goals, start thinking about the logistics of the event.
Therefore, consider factors such as the date, time, and location of the event.
Will you hold it during business hours or after work?
Will it be at a formal venue or a more casual setting?
The answers to both questions will have an impact on how many attendees you can expect and what type of audience it will attract.
Note: Create a timeline leading up to the event - This way you’ll ensure that everything runs smoothly on the date itself.
Thus, check that all necessary arrangements are made well in advance so there are no last-minute surprises or hiccups.
2. Choose The Right Venue or a Virtual Platform
Regardless of whether you organize a virtual or in-person event, you’ll need to find the best place or a platform.
Choosing The Right Venue
Choosing the right venue is crucial when hosting a networking event. The location of your event sets the tone and atmosphere for the entire experience.
Here come few quick tips to help you in the process:
✨ Consider your attendees - Think about your guests and what type of space would make them feel comfortable and at ease.
If your audience consists of professionals, look for venues that offer a more formal setting with ample seating options.
✨ Choose a good location - Choose a central location that's easy to access via public transportation or car. Make sure there's enough parking nearby if needed.
✨Think about the venue size - Selecting a venue that can comfortably accommodate all attendees is important.
Too small, and it will be cramped, too large, and it may feel empty.
✨Consider Ambiance & Amenities - What kind of ambiance do you want for your event? Are you looking for something formal or casual?
Does the venue offer amenities such as Wi-Fi, A/V equipment or catering services?
Note: You don't need to break the bank on renting out an expensive venue. You can look into community spaces like libraries or local cafes, which may offer free meeting space.
Choosing The Right Virtual Platform
Hosting a virtual event is more cost-efficient and hassle-free because you don’t have to take into account the physical space and all the additional things that go with it.
Furthermore, you can gather a much wider, global audience.
However, you need to find the right conferencing platform that can support your event technically and stream it seamlessly.
3. Set a Budget
Setting a budget is one of the most important steps in hosting a successful networking event.
Without proper planning, you might end up overspending on unnecessary things or running out of funds midway through the event.
To set a realistic budget, think about:
- The expected number of attendees.
- Venue rental fees, and any additional costs, such as decorations or audiovisual equipment.
- Miscellaneous expenses, for example transportation costs, gifts for speakers and guests, catering, etc.
Don’t forget to always leave some wiggle room in your budget in case something unexpected happens during the event.
4. Promote Your Event
Without good promotion, even the best events don’t stand the chance of succeeding.
The more people know about it, the more likely they will attend and spread the word to their network.
1. Create a Social Media Campaign
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are great to reach a wider audience.
Create a social media hashtag for your event so attendees can easily share it with others in their network
2. Partner With Local Businesses or Organizations
This way you can tap into their existing audiences and potentially gain new attendees.
3. Use Email Marketing
If you send newsletters, you should use them to spread the word about your event.
4. Offer Incentives
Offer incentives for those who bring friends or colleagues with them such as discounted tickets or special prizes exclusive only for referrals.
5. Use Conferencing Apps
These apps offer an easy way to connect with other attendees before, during, and after the event, expanding the network and outreach.
Promoting your networking event should be creative yet strategic to maximize the number of attendees.
5. Send Out Invitations
Once you've identified your guest list, choose an appropriate invitation method.
Email invitations are easy to send and track RSVPs, while physical invites can add a touch of formality and personalization.
In addition, make sure to follow up with guests who haven't responded to their invitations closer to the event date.
6. Create a Schedule of Events
Creating a schedule of events will not only be beneficial for you, but also for your attendees.
Once you know how long your event will last, plan how you want to divide that time.
For example, include activities such as icebreakers or team-building exercises to encourage interaction among attendees.
It's also important to make sure there is plenty of downtime for guests to relax and network on their own.
Don't try to pack too much into one event - less can often be more when it comes to scheduling.
In addition, communicate the schedule with all attendees beforehand so they know what to expect.
It will also give them something concrete to look forward to, which can help boost attendance rates.
Note: Although organizing an event requires a military-like approach, don’t forget to keep it flexible in a way.
Unexpected things may come up during the course of your event that require adjustments so you need to stay calm and prioritize.
7. Engage Your Attendees with Fun Activities and Games
Having activities or games at your networking event is a great way to break the ice and get people interacting with each other.
Moreover, it can also make the event more memorable and enjoyable for attendees.
When choosing activities or games, consider what would be appropriate for your audience.
If you host a virtual event, you can start a pre-event ice-breaker chat, and open the chat before the event, so attendees can mingle and get to know each other.
Additionally, you can prepare some icebreaker questions to fuel the connecting.
In addition, you can organize trivia, quizzes, or even do a round of fast-paced speed networking, where attendees change speaking partners every 10 minutes.
For more ideas on how to keep your audience engaged, jump to our blog 10 Virtual Networking Ideas You Should Implement Today.
However, not everyone enjoys group activities or games so make sure to have alternative options for those who prefer socializing in smaller groups or one-on-one conversations.
For example, you can divide the attendees into breakout rooms, where it’s easier to connect with fewer people.
ProTip: If you have a Tapni digital profile, for example, you can immediately share the link to your profile, so your co-speaker can instantly find out more about you.
8. Give Away Prizes
One surefire way to get people excited about your networking event is by giving away prizes.
Obviously, it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but offering a few small giveaways can go a long way in making your guests feel appreciated and engaged.
And although the prize has a more symbolical meaning, put some thought into what it will be - consider what would be relevant for your audience.
In addition, giving away prizes provides an opportunity for some extra fun. You could choose winners through raffles or games that tie into the theme of your event.
For example, digital business cards, such as Tapni, can act as a gamification tool: the first person who scans the QR code and provides some info from your profile gets a small reward.
Whatever method you choose, make sure to announce the winners towards the end of the night when everyone is still gathered together.
This will create excitement and encourage attendees to stick around until the very end.
Note: Don't forget to thank your sponsors or those who contributed items for the giveaway.
Showing gratitude goes a long way towards building relationships and it sets a positive tone for future collaborations.
9. Follow up and Get Feedback
Following up after the event is such a crucial step,yet many hosts forget to do it.
It helps you evaluate the success of your event and identify areas for improvement in case you decide to host another one in the future.
Did you know that with Tapni, you can schedule a follow-up reminder directly from your CRM?
We hope you find our 9 tips on how to host a networking event practical and useful, and that the next time you are a host, you’ll tackle the task like a pro.
Nonetheless, there are digital solutions that can help you maximize networking at your event, and provide you with valuable data.
One such solution is our Tapni.
How Can Tapni Help You Maximize Networking?
Besides providing fully-customizable digital business cards and digital accessories, Tapni hosts a robust set of features that can help you navigate your event easier :
🔥 Automate lead generation and send your contacts directly to your CRM.
🔥 Get actionable analytics and measure ROI at events.
🔥 Easily share your info in multiple ways via link, email, etc.
🔥 Automatically send a message to all the attendees that have contacted you or visited your profile after the event
🔥Organize your new contacts into meaningful editable lists.
🔥 Scan and add info from paper business cards.
🔥 Put a direct link to the social media profile you want your new contacts to see.
🔥 Schedule follow-up reminders so you don’t forget to reach out to your new contacts.
🔥 Regroup attendees and move them to other groups back and forth, and add the so-called markers or tags to sort out your contacts further.
🔥 And much more.
Ready to try your hand at Tapni?
Create your Tapni digital card today and ensure that your next networking event is one for the books.
1. How do I Prepare for My First Networking Event?
The key part is to make a strategy and plan ahead so you leave no room for mistakes. Consider the type of audience, venue, budget and the ways you want to keep them engaged.
2. How Can I Network like a Pro?
To boost your confidence, you should always come prepared for the event.
Do the research and check who the attendees and the speakers are to get a head start.
Furthermore, don’t forget to bring a digital business card so you can easily collect and exchange contact info.
3. How do I End a Conversation at a Networking Event?
One way to end a conversation is to thank a person for their time and valuable thoughts you’ve shared with each other.
In addition, if you think you really connected well with the person, you can exchange digital business card info and immediately schedule a follow up.
16 Networking Event Tips for Beginners - The Ultimate Guide
How To Prepare for a Networking Event - 12 Best Tips For 2023
5 Best Digital Business Card Solutions In 2023 [Comparison Guide]
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