Networking Events Planning
Over the years networking events have continued to grow in importance. They are a valuable opportunity for people in various industries to get together, exchange professional news, and make new business contacts. Since these events are vital to the success of both established and startup businesses setting them up can be very stressful. Understanding the importance of networking events to business success we offer valuable advice on organizing your next gathering. With our advice, and a great deal of planning, you can host fantastic networking event that will help boost your business.
Set a Date
The date you choose for your networking event should be as far in advance as possible. Planning a successful event takes time, and you will need at least six months to secure entertainment, sponsors, and more. Pick a date that is around a weekend and be sure to avoid holidays and established industry events that may lower attendance.
Find a Venue
Search for a venue that will not only be affordable, but that is also going to be accessible for all attendees. Hotels and small resorts with large meeting centers are ideal locations for networking events and they will easily accommodate any guests who are coming from out of town. Be sure that the location has a lot of parking and is comfortable. Above all, you need to be sure that amenities such as WiFi and light meals (breakfasts, snacks, and modest buffets) are available to those who are reserving the location for large events.
Begin inviting people who will benefit from attending a networking event. Give the date and location with additional details (speakers) to come later. Due to the size of the venue plan to invite the majority of your guests via email or through an event website. Send physical, paper invitations to those on your personal mailing lists to impress upon them how much you would like them to attend your event. Allow guests to RSVP via email for greater convenience and to gather their email addresses to use for event updates.
Once you have started to receive reservations to your events reach out to more speakers. While you probably know a few people who are willing to speak during your event, you will be able to attract the attention of more speakers once the potential audience size is known. Many speakers charge a fee to provide instructional or motivational speeches at these events, but there are some speakers (especially those who live in the area that the event is being held in) who will donate their time for the opportunity to reach a wider audience.
Reach Out to Sponsors
After you have secured speakers and have a substantial number of guests planning to attend you can contact potential sponsors. Businesses that are eager to connect with the guests who will attend your networking event will be willing to donate money or equipment to ensure the success of the event. In return they will want their company name, products, and more to be featured at the event.
Prior to the official starting time of your networking event you will need to set up the event area. This will often entail setting up chairs, arranging tables, and setting up equipment that will be used by speakers. The staff at the venue location will typically handle some of the arrangements (refreshments, buffet areas, etc.) and you will need to double check everything that they have done prior to the event.