Hate going to networking events? I don’t blame you, they can be strenuous and expensive to attend. Being creative when it comes to planning a networking event can show leadership and demonstrate value to your potential clients. Over the summer, creating your own networking events, like a Barbecue for instance, can be enjoyable. No one wants to be indoors on beautiful days! Events like these plan themselves! Just invite two or three friends and insist each of them bring two or three people from their network. Not only does this make things easier for you, but everyone should see the value too, this event will lead to future growth and connections for everyone present.
Hosting your own networking event places you in control and puts you at ease. Barbecues are very relaxing and will take the feeling of “work” out of the equation. Your guests will feel relaxed and at ease and this will make the business conversations more natural and casual. These are the same principles we see at work at Golf networking events; most individuals are calm and relaxed playing golf and the networking doesn’t feel like work at all, making talking business pleasant
Take a look at the following article, How to Network like a true Entrepreneur, which goes over some additional tips and tricks about how you can go outside of the box in creating your own networking event. A true entrepreneur “takes ideas and makes them a reality.”
Let me leave you with some great tips to follow when hosting your own networking event:
- Don't try to distract from the purpose of the event (networking!) by dominating the event with speeches or presentations.
- Remind all your guests to bring information on their products or services; Set aside one or two large tables with this in mind.
- Limit the number of chairs available to keep people moving and mingling.
- Consider including short networking exercises or games. For example, have each guest meet three people he or she hasn't met before or ask guests to find someone in a similar line of business. You could also have a "Meet Your (Business) Match" mixer with designated areas for specific business professions such as finance, real estate and health care. Or you could even have everyone pick a card out of a hat with the name of one-half of a famous duo on it so that guests keep meeting people until they run into their "partner."