4 Quick Tips for Planning Engaging Networking Events

November 16, 2019 Susan Douglin

Networking events can be a combo of being a confusing and fun experience. While people love making new connections, it’s sometimes awkward, specifically if there’s no precise venue and time to network. But there is a way to make networking events work for you, and this post will show you how.

If you’re in charge of planning a networking event, make sure you help your audience socialize by guiding them with something like a group activity or two. Smaller networking events also help, because they make things more intimate and favorable to engagement.

Below, we’re going to cover how to get more people to your networking events, which platform can help promote your event, and how to keep your networking event productive and fun.

1. The Power of Pinterest Will Set You Free

New Tool to Promote Your Networking Event: Up to now, Facebook has been known as the chief platform for planning and promoting events, however a new challenger has arrived! Pinterest recently launched new tools that event professionals can use to plan events. Part of the platform’s new features allow event marketers to publish highly visible ads in news feeds, and place promotional videos in a space that gets more virtual real estate than any other element. Now Pinterest can back up their identity as being a completely visual platform.

2. If It’s Free, It’s for Everyone

Getting People to Your Networking Event: Ever wonder why free events end up with so many flakers? Those are the attendees that promise attendance and then drop out at the last minute because they didn’t “invest” in attending your event. They tend to mentally pencil it in and then forget or don’t commit at all from the beginning. The best way to attract more people to a free networking event is by offering them an activity or something else they love. For instance, you can give them something valuable that they can bring home, whether it’s a new set of skills, or a free giveaway. Some event professionals ask potential attendees to pay a small “attendance deposit”, that will be returned when their attendance is confirmed at the entrance. While both of these strategies can add a bit more work to your plate, they’re known to increase your turnout.

3. Make Event Networking Fun Again

Creating Fun Networking Events: Events are more fun when people are having a good time, learning and forming new bonds. There are several strategies you can use to promote event networking. For example, you can form an online community about your event. Encourage sharing, as well as personal conversations through activities and pre-allocated “networking stations”. You can also go as high-tech as using people-matching algorithms, or as low-tech as using catchy name badges. You can even sweeten the pot some more by incentivizing networking and interaction!

4. Enhance the Learning Experience at Networking Events

The Experience: Aside from the experience, there are two more major things you expect meeting attendees to take home: knowledge and new opportunities. That’s why it is important to design your meetings for event networking. One way is to make sure the meeting tackles content that is important to the participants. Smaller sessions are better for more focus, and interaction is a must. There should also be a way for the attendees to consolidate their learnings at the end of each session, and to add these learnings into future plans.

Bonus tip: Nailing VIP & Referral programs

Networking Referral Programs: The industry hinges not just on that single event that gets all the attendees. It also relies on year-round engagement, loyalty from the community. Referrals are a way of using the following you already have to increase the exposure of your brand even further, while VIP programs are a way to bring in the top level of your audience and show them new and exciting content, with the help of your sponsors. It is important to understand the concept behind these effective techniques, so you can use them fully, adding a dimension of engagement that will set you apart from the crowd.

Planning and executing effective networking events requires skills and know-how. Professionals aren’t looking to attend a snoozefest after work when networking events are usually held. Be sure to hire an event planner who specializes in networking events to ensure success.

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