The core magic of networking events is bringing together a group of people who will be empowered by meeting each other. These can be the easiest events to execute because it depends on the people you gather not the content you’re presenting. You’ll get long-term credit for new quality relationships sparked by your event.

The icing on the magic cake is bringing people together in a way that allows them to find like-minded colleagues and form bonds immediately. Getting the right people in the room is definitely step uno. Then start playing with your icing until you can have your cake and eat it too.

Defining Your Event

Bringing together the right group of people typically requires a combination of personal outreach and shareable messaging. 

When we wanted to bring together women around cannabis, we choose a niche within a niche within a niche market. Women Grow was founded in 2014 to connect, educate, and inspire female entrepreneurs working with cannabis. At first we were told that we had chosen too small of a population and there simply wouldn’t be enough female professionals in a fledgling industry to buy tickets to monthly events. We held fast to our original attendee profile and created a series of events that were often sold-out in 66 cities over just 2 years. The events were designed for the female entrepreneur but 30% of our attendees were men and about 50% of our attendees weren’t entrepreneurs. We kept our marketing costs down by focusing on attracting the female entrepreneur and got a much larger audience in return. Just one more example of how a tightly designed core can attract an audience more efficiently than a general push.

Customer Outreach

Once you have learned what your potential attendees would like from a networking event, you can create your personal outreach plan that supports your shareable messaging. Your personal outreach campaign can be as simple as a notebook with scrawled phone numbers to as complicated as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database. The steps are the same regardless of the technology used to push the message.

Manual contact is fastest for 20 or less contacts and creating an automated system is recommend for 100+ contacts. Split up large contact lists between members of your host/registration team to contact personally. 

Venue Secrets

These are the core elements I look for in a good networking venue.

  • Easy access via public transportation and public parking.
  • Low traffic during arrival hour for your event.
  • Private space. Venue can be shared but the area for your networking group should be clearly designated for your guests. Guests can be inhibited from introducing themselves in public spaces.
  • Volume control. Ideally there is a sound system for background music during the event that you can turn off when required. If your event includes public speaking you’ll need a microphone & speaker if your event has more than 50 guests.
  • Mix of seating and standing conversational areas. Ideally guests can move freely between standing or seating in small groups. Rows of seatings are death for networking mixing. Introverts tend to take their seats early and waste the networking portion of the event staring at an empty stage.
  • Bathrooms. A minimum of 2 bathrooms per 100 guests, more is always better. We recommend inviting guests of all genders to use any bathroom facility. You’ll want signage to direct people.