Looking for a way to stand out in your business landscape? Plan a after-hours networking mixer to bring entrepreneurs in your field together. Doing this establishes yourself as a business leader, someone who wants to go the extra mile to make the business a success. The exposure you receive will shine for months afterward – if you plan the right event. Here are some tips to help you plan the social mixer that could make your career.
Use an App
Registration apps like Eventbrite and Cvent simplify planning, sending invitations and reminding attendees the event is getting close. Request that participants register by a certain date so you have a head count you can use to plan.
Select your date early so everyone has plenty of notice and email before the event so your plans have plenty of visibility. Many apps encourage networking in advance by allowing attendees to exchange business cards and keep in touch after the event. Use responses to prepare attendee name badges that indicate their industry, being sure to have extra blank ones on hand.
Find the Perfect Location
Where you meet can set the tone for everything that happens once guests arrive. Select a central location so it appeals to a wide range of people. Once you’ve decided on a neighborhood or area of town, look at the restaurants, hotels, stadiums, pubs or other venues that are available on your date. Don’t just shop online, visit sites in person to evaluate whether the atmosphere suits the type of event you’re planning.
When choosing a location, assess the venue’s size, layout, and available features, not just its cost. If mingling and relaxing is your goal, a venue with pool tables and dart boards might encourage conversation. An open floor plan with standing height tables also encourages conversation rather than staying in one place.
Give yourself at least 30 minutes before the other guests arrive to evaluate the location one last time. Ask a few friends to show up ahead so you’re not the only one there with that person you barely know who arrived early. Greet all your guests and allow yourself to relax. When they see you enjoying yourself, they’re more likely to join in.
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