Tim Sanders, a renowned best-selling author, and keynote speaker once said that ‘ Your Network is Your Networth.’ Well, he wasn’t wrong because the people around us shape who we are. When we surround ourselves with positive, successful people, they subconsciously and consciously challenge us to be our best selves.
In this light, you may decide to start a networking group to advance your career and personal life. Perhaps you’d simply like to meet more people who share your interests. Whatever the case, a networking group would be an ideal strategy.
You may even have searched for groups that share common interests but can’t seem to find one that does it for you. If that’s the case, why not start your own? Organizing a networking event can be a terrific way to promote yourself and your company while also helping others.
Planning an event, however, is always easier said than done. That is why we have compressed the process into 4 vital steps that will serve as the bottom line for a successful networking event. Follow these 4 steps to plan a great networking event, and you’ll be surprised at how many doors it will open and how many interesting opportunities will come your way.
1. Define Your Goal.
The finest networking groups are those that specialize in a specific field. Maybe you’d want to start a group for people in your sector or a network for entrepreneurs and small company owners? Perhaps you just want to give those who are new to the area a chance to meet new people?
Whichever the case, define the types of individuals you want to bring and what you want them to receive out of the event. Keep in mind that this is how you’ll sell it to them. If you’re hosting an event for publicists, editors, and journalists, for example, you could describe it as “An opportunity for publicists, editors, and journalists to expand their contact books, collaborate on stories, and uncover professional prospects.”
2. Choose a Format for Your Event.
You’re at liberty to make your event as structured or as informal as you want; the key is to figure out what would work best for your audience. If the folks are already acquainted, getting together in a pub for a few beers may be sufficient to start a pleasant conversation, but others may require more encouragement to mix and mingle.
Consider speed networking, in which each person gets two minutes to introduce themselves to the other. You could host an intimate sit-down dinner for a small party or a situation where attendees swap tables between meals for a bigger gathering. Alternatively, you could organize your networking activities around a hike, outdoor event, or a cooking class. Yet another alternative is a professional workshop or presentation.
3. Create a Budget Plan.
Even if you don’t plan on making a profit from your networking event, you’ll almost certainly need to spend money on a venue and refreshments. For this, start by knowing what exactly you want to offer then you can price your event. Depending on your financial situation, you must then decide if you will support the event with outside sponsorship, self-fund with your company’s marketing budget, or ticket sales.
Business exhibitions and presentations at your event could also be a great way to collect money, but make sure they’re relevant to your audience. Don’t be hesitant to charge a reasonable fee for admission; putting a value on your event will encourage people to value it more. Selling tickets also allows you to keep track of attendance and reduce no-shows. You may be interested in seeing ‘online business networking USA‘.
4. Select an Appropriate Venue.
It’s tempting to look for a free or low-cost venue, such as a community hall or a room in a pub especially if you’re on a tight budget, but keep in mind the pulling power that an unusual setting may have.
Giving them the chance to go somewhere uncommon or intriguing can increase sign-ups significantly. Barter with venue managers by emphasizing the advantages of having your networking group attend and offering them the chance to participate.
Once your networking group has grown, you might consider arranging events at your members’ businesses — everyone enjoys a peek behind the scenes!
With this 4-step manual, anyone can organize a kick-ass networking event. Though there are other things to consider, these 4 make up the foundation. As such, the rest will easily fall into place!