The reasons why businesses attend networking events are varied; some want to gain new clients and increase their brand awareness, others want to create new business partnerships or are simply looking for dialogue with other local businesses.
Whilst you may be able to achieve all of these aims by attending networking events organised by other people, have you considered running your own networking events?
Here are the reasons why we think you should:
- Increased brand exposure – holding your own networking event provides the opportunity for increased brand exposure through displaying banners and other marketing collateral, and simply through being the event host. It is common practice for a senior member of staff to say a few introductory and welcoming words, which will again help the attendees make a personal connection and remember the individual and business in future.
- Improved public perception – by putting on your own event you will be seen as a business leader and connector in your local area. Make sure you ‘work the room’, introduce yourself to everyone attending and introduce businesses to each other who you believe would benefit from an introduction.
- Create your own guest list – You have full control over who to invite and how the event is publicised. Could you ask existing clients to attend and bring a contact of theirs along as a guest? Or do you want it to be open to all industries and sectors?
- Choose a venue that fits the purpose – Depending on the size of your company and offices, you could consider holding the networking event in your premises. This helps to showcase your facilities, shows your attendees where you are, and as an added bonus is free of charge. Alternatively, speak to venues in your area to see if they would consider providing a function room or area in the bar/lobby for free if your budget is low. Or you could tie the event in with an activity, such as wine tasting, visit to a landmark, tour of a place of interest… Whichever you choose, make sure the venue is easily accessible and is able to cater for your group
- Find your niche – it may be that there simply aren’t any suitable networking events in your location, or perhaps you think a networking event for a particular industry is missing. This is your chance to define the parameters and find your niche. The event can then be promoted accordingly through email, social media, or sector specific publications.
- You can be creative with the format – do you want there to be a particular topic? If so, you could invite speakers to provide insight or opinions on a current topic. How relaxed or formal would you like it to be? Consider asking attendees to prepare a 30 second pitch to tell others about their business if they are from across industries.
If you would like any assistance with putting on a networking event please do contact us on 01903 530787 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We have run hundreds of events and would be happy to have an informal chat.
You may also be interested to read our 10 Top Tips for Networking Like a Pro