- Make your guests feel comfortable while also encouraging them to forge more authentic connections
- More opportunities for meaningful engagement sets both you and your guests up for success
- With a bit of planning and coordinating, you can kickstart a stellar networking event
Networking events require a delicate balance. You want your guests to feel comfortable, but you also want to encourage people to step out of their comfort zones and forge authentic connections. With too much structure, guests may feel confined by a rigid itinerary. But with no structure at all, event participants might spend the evening looking at their phones or searching for the nearest exit.
On the flip side, planning a business networking event with more opportunities for authentic engagement sets both you and your guests up for success. By encouraging dynamic conversations that lead to positive feedback, you will boost participant satisfaction and increase future participation.
With a bit of planning and coordination, you can kickstart a stellar networking event that your participants will remember. Follow these simple steps as you prepare, and then watch your perfect event unfold.
1. Set the Scene: Book the Perfect Accommodations
It’s essential to set the stage for a successful business networking event. Think carefully about the type of environment that will put your guests at ease. Also, consider capacity for your group’s size and ensure the venue has the necessary equipment to conduct the night’s events without a hitch.
Make versatility your number one priority. If you plan to host an outdoor event, ensure you have an indoor space available in the case of inclement weather. Double-check your RSVPs to make sure you have a space big enough to accommodate all of your guests according to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
The same goes for technology: expect the unexpected. Check your equipment ahead of time. If you plan to host speakers or showcase a visual display, test your audio, projections, and WiFi or Bluetooth connection ahead of the big day. Include all of your speakers in a final audio check on the day of the event to make sure everything runs smoothly.
2. Increase Turnout: Spread the Word
Maximize mixing potential before guests even walk in the door. With the right marketing campaign, you can attract event attendees from various industries and diverse personal and professional backgrounds.
Use social posts to drive engagement on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Encourage attendees to tag friends or share the event post to drum up additional interest. In the days and weeks leading up to the event, you can promote keynote speakers and performers, networking opportunities, and free giveaways to keep guests wanting more.
On the day of the event, entice participants with a photo contest to boost the event’s visibility and drive future participation. Attendees can take pictures at the event with their new professional connections, share them on social media, and use designated hashtags, making it easy for you to follow up with them about future events.
3. Ease Introductions: Utilize Virtual Name Tags
Remembering names at a large networking event can be tricky, but it shouldn’t stand in the way of getting to know someone. With virtual name tags, attendees can avoid the dreaded forgot-your-name-immediately-after-asking fiasco.
Mixtroz allows guests to enter key personal information upon arrival at a live, hybrid, or virtual event and create a name tag display. Participants then swap these virtual name tags at the end of an interaction. With virtual name tags, attendees can:
- Remember names more quickly.
- Collect essential information, such as company or affiliation..
- Gather contact information so they can follow up with new professional connections.
It’s networking made easy, without the awkward request to exchange contact information.
4. Provide Support: Craft a How-to Networking Guide
Some guests dive headfirst into networking opportunities, whereas others may be more reluctant. Set the tone for more meaningful connections with a guide to your top networking tips. Give participants the tools they need to ask the right questions and build mutually beneficial professional relationships.
In your guide, throw in some out-of-the-box conversation starters or walk through dynamic icebreaker activities that attendees can use in one-on-one or small group settings. For young professionals who may be new to the networking scene, provide the basics of business networking etiquette to get them going on the right foot.
Finally, make sure your event is a welcoming place for people of all backgrounds and identities. Not sure where to begin? We created a list of tips for inclusive networking you can use to create an environment in which all of your guests thrive.
5. Get People Talking: Create Breakout Sessions
Get people talking with a mix of structured and free-form activities. Also, create a balance between large group sessions and small group or one-on-one interactions. For example, after a speaker presents, encourage breakout sessions to reflect on the presentation, find areas of commonality, and discuss takeaways related to specific roles or industries.
Mixtroz encourages participants to share feedback about large group, small group, and one-on-one interactions using real-time surveys. As a host, you can use this information to inform future events and keynote speaker opportunities.
Participants can also use the Mixtroz app to exchange contact information at the end of a breakout session to make lasting connections.
Get Ready to Create Endless Meaningful Moments
Ready to create long-lasting community at your next networking event? We would love to help!
Mixtroz helps you facilitate meaningful networking moments so your participants leave satisfied every time. Find out more about using the Mixtroz at your next corporate or student event. Connection, community and data — on demand. Request a demo for more information about getting started.