What makes the perfect networking event?
Networking events are a great way to put yourself out there and make some meaningful connections, but what makes the perfect networking event? Thanks to the internet and social media, it’s easy to find or set up a networking event in your local area.
For some, the presence of a great guest speaker and a good discussion can really make the networking event. For others, such events can be daunting and the thought of attending one without alcohol can seem unbearable.
In this post, we’ll discuss all the ingredients required to host a great networking for your business. We’ll also cover some of the issues surrounding networking events, such as reliance on alcohol, to help you discover how you can host the perfect networking event.
Find the purpose of your event
Perhaps you’d like to meet like minded people within your industry to discuss new ideas, or maybe you’d like to discover potential business partners or investors. Once you have a clear purpose in mind, you’re ready to start planning the event.
Choose the right venue
Many hotels have sufficient space to hold such events, with many hotels providing designated meeting or function rooms for business events. You could also look for a local co-working space to host your networking event. Shared office spaces are designed to get people from different businesses together to share ideas, so why not use one for your networking event?
It’s also important that your networking event is easily accessible for everyone. Pick a location with good public transport links, or one that is easy to get to on foot.
Here at Accelerate Places, our shared workspace Manchester has great public transport links and is easily accessible on foot. We also have coworking spaces in London and Nottingham, meaning you’re never too far away from the perfect shared office space.
Our event spaces are free to hire if your event is aligned with the learning and development needs of our members. Along with our meeting rooms, we also have small workshops and an arena space that can hold upwards of 100 people.
Pick a format
Formal or informal, a large group or a small group? There are many different ways you can tackle your networking event. Decide on who you want to speak first, perhaps it is the guest speakers followed by networking and mingling. You could also choose to let everyone get a chance to speak in turn. How the event is formatted will depend on your purpose, but be sure to set out a clear format beforehand to avoid any uncertainty.
Promote the event
Promote your event as soon as possible to ensure the word gets out there. Marketing your event is simple thanks to social media. Create relevant social media and blog posts to spread the word of the event. You could also ask any guest speakers to promote the event to their colleagues, friends and social media followers. You could even use websites such as Eventbrite and Meetup to promote your event to a wider audience!
Choose your incentives
The incentives for your event could simply be great guest speakers, but you could also consider providing food or alcohol as part of the package. Alcohol is often one of the biggest incentives at networking events, but is it possible to have a successful event without it?
In November 2018, we held a networking discussion regarding alcohol and business culture The Start-up, Sober-up event in Manchester saw panellists, such as Dominic McGregor (Social Chain) and Naomi Timperley (Tech North Advocates), discuss all things related to alcohol in start-up culture, including a discussion around “Does drinking help you network or can you network without it?”
If you’re looking for networking events to attend in 2019, keep an eye on our social channels where we will be posting similar networking events in Manchester, and beyond, throughout the year.