The Advocate - Hepburn

Event planning tips for in-person networking

Event planning tips for in-person networking

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Networking is one of the best ways to not only meet new people in your industry but to develop yourself professionally as well. Rapport building and holding conversations are two very important skills in just about any business or industry.

If you're looking to plan a spectacular in-person networking event, use these simple tips to get the most out of it for all your guests.

Make introductions easy

Arguably, one of the hardest parts of any conversation when you don't know the other person is the introduction. If you're planning an in-person networking event, don't make your guests do all the heavy lifting, give them custom printed lanyards.

Custom printed lanyards are easy conversation starters because you can read them and get enough information to open with. Print them with the guest's name, the business they work for and their role. These three simple pieces of information will have conversation flowing early and the event abuzz with activity.

Boost your numbers

When people first hear about your event, there will be excitement and enthusiasm. This will likely lead to a good number of RSVPs, yet they won't all translate into attendances. As the event gets closer there will be competing events and commitments for your guests.

To help boost the number of guests who show up on the day of the event, try introducing some random business card draws. By offering the chance to win a prize with your business card and attendance, the number of late drop-outs will reduce dramatically.

Consider a panel or Q&A

The format of your in-person networking event is critical for success, and one tip is to get the guests involved in any talks or topics. Panel discussions with experts are a great way to engage your guests and they act as a drawcard as well.

These panels if done right allows the guests to get meaningful insights on questions or topics they will be dealing with themselves. Allow your guests to submit questions to the panel for even greater participation.

Whatever format you choose, be sure to find a way to involve the guests instead of letting them be spoken to for a set period of time.

Sell yourself

When it comes to holding an in-person networking event, it's easy to get lost in the planning and execution, only to find you finish with no networking for yourself. A great tip is to offer a welcome gift bag for your guests and to include a little information about yourself.

This is the best way to ensure everyone gets to know you a little better, even if you don't have the time to speak with them or anyone at the event. Be concise and clear in your information about yourself and be sure they know who put this event together. Don't miss the chance to get your message in front of as many eyes as you can at your own event.

Cater your event

One of the best draw cards for any event, and a great way to start up a conversation is with food or drinks. Catering your event is another top tip to ensure a successful in-person networking event.

The food and drink will help boost your numbers and give guests a natural conversation starter if you choose the right dishes. Food disarms people and drinks help loosen them up, two things you want at your networking event. Don't skimp on the food and drink, and make sure your guests know it's a catered event beforehand.

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Running an in-person networking event is a great way to reach a whole new audience and develop yourself professionally.

Setting your event up for success is simple if you have the right tips. If you're planning your next in-person networking event, be sure to include these tips for success.