A business networking event can be beneficial to your career. Not only is it an opportunity to meet and connect with important people in your industry, but hosting one can establish you as a major player in your field.
If you’re going to do it, though, it’s important to know how to do it right. After all, this will be a reflection of your ability to organize and execute an event, so you don’t want things to look disorganized or lazy. Given this, here are seven steps for hosting your own business networking event.
Step 1: Determine Your Business Networking Event’s Budget
Before you do anything else, you’ll want to figure out the scope of your event and how much you’re willing to spend on it. “Have a budget for how much you are wanting to spend ahead of time either overall or per head basis,” says Quail Hollow’s director of events and marketing, Carly Kennedy. “Know the type of space and set-up you are looking for as well as an estimated head count. This way, you will be able to get an accurate quote.”
Step 2: Choose the Right venue
In many ways, your event’s success boils down to your choice of venue. Quail Hollow has all of the necessary facilities for a great event. It’s picturesque and easy to find with plenty of available space for milling around as you connect with people. There’s also a full bar for casual mingling in a low-key setting once the formal event is done.
“Quail Hollow is the perfect venue for a business networking event because we are centrally located and easy to get to, being just two miles from the interstate,” explains Kennedy. “We also have plenty of parking and several rooms to accommodate different group sizes.”
Step 3: Put the Word Out about Your Event
Just like any event, you need to get the word out and encourage people to attend. Depending on the resources you have at your disposal, you can use social media, email lists, word of mouth and more to grow your list of attendees.
Kennedy and the Quail Hollow team also will help you in this capacity. “We like to partner with our weekly networking groups to help grow their group size by talking about them on social media and listing them on our website,” says Kennedy. “The more people to their group means more people visiting Quail Hollow and seeing what we have to offer!”
Step 4: Figure out the Details
The specific details of the event also will need to be arranged. Our expert event staff can help you organize a successful business networking event that’s sure to be a hit. “We have onsite catering, so they don’t have to worry about getting food and bringing it in,” says Kennedy. “We also take care of the set-up and breakdown, which some of these groups have to do on their own at certain locations.”
Step 5: Simplify check-in
There’s nothing worse than standing in a long line of people waiting to fill out an overly long form at a registration table. Make things quick and easy with the basics: nametags to fill in, a form with basic contact information that people can return at their leisure, a couple of people to check off names of attendees, and plenty of pens and markers floating around the room.
Step 6: Meet everyone and Help Others Connect
As the host, it’s your job to make sure that you introduce yourself personally to everyone in attendance. Find out who they are and show an interest in what they do.
Once you’ve met everyone, you can facilitate networking by introducing other attendees to one another. Find people you think would benefit from connecting with each other, then follow up next time you see them to find out if anything came from the introduction.
Also, remember that not everyone is naturally gregarious. Some people tend to gravitate to the lonely corners of the room, and if your event gets large enough, it may be difficult to encourage their participation. In this case, you may find it useful to recruit some anchors to help the networking go more smoothly. An “anchor” is someone who is outgoing who helps facilitate conversations and connections.
Step 7: Follow up
Once the event is over, it’s time to get some feedback. How did everyone like it? What did they get out of it? What would they recommend doing differently next time?
Use this feedback to plan your next networking event once you’ve pulled the whole thing off successfully. With any luck, it could become an ongoing affair, which can become an advantage when planning other events at the club. “If you host networking meetings with us every week,” says Kennedy, “we are able to offer you discounts on space rental for private events that you host outside of the weekly networking such as happy hours, holiday parties, picnics, golf tourneys, annual banquets, and more.”
Read more about the spaces available in our brochure, or go ahead and start planning your Quail Hollow business networking event by requesting more event information or calling Carly Kennedy at (813) 333-0033, ext 624.