When it comes to planning and hosting a networking event, you need to consider everything from food to business card printing. You need to offer food and refreshments, welcome guests as they come in, and keep their attention during the entire event. In other words, prepare to multi-task! Here are six steps to planning and hosting the perfect networking event. 1. Choose a Good Location It needs to be a little bigger than what you think you will need. It’s better to have a little extra space than not enough. The location should not be a public place where there will be other people. If you want to go with a restaurant, you should reserve a private room.
Other locations to consider include a privately-owned hotel, a banquet room or a conference room. 2. Think About Who You’re Going To Invite Many networking events have an invite-only policy. However, if you don’t mind other people coming, then feel free to advertise the event on your website or in a newspaper. Announce that anybody involved in your industry, or who at least has an interest in it, is invited as long as they register in advance. Make sure you have a greeting card or booklet printing company make the invitations. 3. Make Preparations For Food and Refreshments Talk to caterers, restaurants, and bakeries. If you want to serve alcohol, talk to local liquor stores. Food should be planned at least a couple of weeks in advance so that the caterer can prepare the meals. You should offer a variety of meals and snacks to suit the tastes of every guest. Don’t forget the plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery. Ask the caterers if they can provide all of these items. If not, then you will need to buy them separately. 4. Register the Guests Decide whether you want the guests to register online or over the phone. If you want to charge for registration, decide on a payment method. Keep in mind that there will probably be last-minute attendees who show up at the door during the event. On the registration list, write down the names of the attendees, their businesses, contact information, website, and any other information that might prove to be relevant. 5. What Prizes are You Going to Offer Your Guests? You could ask local businesses if they’d be willing to donate something for the door prize. For instance, a theater might offer a few movie tickets. In addition to the big prize at the end of the night, you can give your other guests gifts so they don’t leave empty-handed. Corporate event gifts range from chocolate bars to silver business card holders. 6. Connect Your Guests Make sure you introduce everyone. It’s your job as the host to connect everyone in the room. If there are any last-minute attendees you don’t recognize, ask them about their company before allowing them to enter. Introduce yourself in return. You need to be both professional and friendly to everyone. These six steps should give you a good idea on what you need to do in order to plan the perfect networking event. Good luck!