How to plan your own networking events

As businesspeople, one of the most important factors of success is the gift of associating with other people. This is the reason why networking events are so important. Here’s how to organize one to your benefit.

A friend of mine once organized a few networking events in Lagos, Nigeria. At the time he organize the event, we were not as close as we are today. The event held in Protea Hotel in GRA, Ikeja. In attendance were people from various works of life, who are interested in viable investment opportunities. I was not present but I saw the photographs. In my opinion, the event was a huge success.

While talking about the networking event, my friend told me that he decided to organize it because making friends does not come easy for him. He wanted another avenue to get to meet people and network. Isn’t that cool? And he made some money while doing that! That was because people paid to participate in the event.

Are you thinking of organizing one or more networking events?

If you have the desire to have an event in which you can get to meet certain kinds of people, lets dive into how you can do that.

Set your objectives

The first thing to do is to determine WHY you want to organize the event. This will determine the kinds of people you want to attend. The target will then determine the venue, kind of advertisement to use and so on.

Stakeholders

Determine those who will get to benefit from the success of the event alongside you. As we all know, it is easy to make big things happen when there is a team. Your team members may be a couple of friends who are in the same business with you.

Guests

What is the number of guests you want to be present in your event?

Who are your guests? Do a typical description of your ideal guest. What kind of job does she do and what kind of car does she drive? How often does she need the kind of service or product you offer? After defining the ideal guest, the next step is to write down a list of firms, organizations and institutions your guest will be found. If you know some of them by name, start drawing your guest list.

Venue & Refreshment

The next thing to do is to make arrangements for a venue. Sometimes, it is better to arrange a nice hotel as venue. Using a hotel has many advantages. Apart from the credibility it lends to your event, the hotel management can also help you to organize refreshments.

Publicity & Advertising

This depends on who you want to be present in your networking event. If it is just engineers for instance, finding a popular engineering journal or website and mentioning it there might do the trick. For other kinds of people, a daily newspaper will suffice. If you are targetting the upwardly mobile folks, social media advertising will help.

Name/Theme

What will you name your networking events? This will determine whether people will take you serious or not. What is the theme?

Other very important things to take note of

  1. Entertainment
  2. Incentives for attendees’
  3. Event stationaries

There is more. I suggest you read another post for more details. Click this link about planning events.

Event Day

On the event day, ensure you are well dressed and in very comfortable clothing. Put on a beautiful smile and speak with people. Try to make connections. Merely handing out business cards is not enough.

Have a database

Ensure you have details of eveyone who participate in your networking event. Have their names, phone numbers, email addresses and emails. They can fill these details at the door before entering the event venue.

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