Tips On Hosting Your Own Networking Event

Hosting a networking event can be difficult. You’re asking people to take time out of their day to do something productive with no guarantee of results. How many times have you gone to a networking event and thought it was a waste of time? How many times have you left an event thinking you were glad you went? The environment is so crucial when it comes to hosting an event. If you have the right environment, everything else can fall into place. Going to networking events are a great way to grow your business, but hosting your own can make your network skyrocket.

Date And Time

This is probably the most important tip that could make or break your attendance. The best time to have a networking event is on Thursday evenings. You don’t want to ask people to come network on a Friday night leading into the weekend. Thursdays are great because people are winding down from the week and could use a drink and conversation. They don’t call it “Thirsty Thursdays” for nothing! You also want to avoid having networking events on Mondays or Tuesdays. People are swamped trying to get back into the work week and it can really affect your attendance.

Social Media Engagement

You want people talking about your event on social media, especially if you have sponsors or you’re promoting your own company. There is a great tool called Everwall that allows you to project everyone’s social media handles and what they are saying up on the wall. This really gets people connecting and engaging. Make sure you have a hashtag and advertise for people to use that hashtag when posting. Also, try to create a Snapchat filter, it’s easy and very inexpensive.

Parking

It can be very frustrating to go to an event only to circle the streets looking for a parking meter or to be forced to pay to park in a garage. If you’re hosting an event and asking people to come support what you’re doing, have the courtesy to spend the extra money to hire a valet company. Ideally, you’d want to find a place that provides hassle-free parking, but if not, invest in hospitality and provide complimentary parking for your attendees.

Photo Ops

A sure way to get people engaged is to invest in hiring a photo booth company. If that’s not possible, make sure you have a step and repeat banner. With social media being such an important component, you want to have things that entice people to post pictures to their social platforms. This is just another way to make sure your hashtag is being used and organically having others spread the word about how fun your event is!

Music

If you want to have your networking event stand out, get a DJ. It helps with any awkwardness and gets people in the mood to mingle and brings up the energy. A DJ is also good to make announcements and to do raffle drawings. Make sure your DJ is playing top 100 music to cater to the majority of the people there. You could also opt for a different form of entertainment such as a piano player or violinist. Any form of entertainment really helps break the ice.

Food And Drink

It’s important to at least provide complimentary appetizers. People will be getting off work and haven’t had dinner yet. If you want people to stick around, have food available. You don’t want hungry people itching to leave. Drinks are a must as well. At a minimum, provide free wine and beer options. If you think you’ll have a good attendance count, it’s very easy to get a local brewery or winery to sponsor your event.

Venue

Your venue needs to be in a central location that is easy to get to. You also want to be smart about space. If the space is too big, your event will look like not many people showed up even if you have great attendance. A good rule of thumb for a free networking event is to know that about 50% of the RSVPs will actually show up. Keep this in mind when preparing for food, space, and entertainment.

 

If you’re looking for a place to host a networking event, CityCentral would love to help you. We know the importance of networking and community and would like to serve as a hub for our local entrepreneurs to collaborate and grow. Send us a note and we’d be happy to schedule you for a tour of our space.