4 Tools To Throw The Best Networking Party Ever
Networking contains the word "work," which is what these kind of forced social events for
business professionals can sometimes feel like. Though every business strategist will tell you to
get out and mingle (and we agree), sometimes it’s not easy to be social and professional.
It's your turn to host the event. If you’re a regular at these get-togethers, you likely have
figured what works and what doesn’t to get people to show up, enjoy themselves and leave with
a pocket full of potential business.
These organizational strategies can make the gathering feel less like networking and more like
- Invitations: Invitations and your guest list can set the tone for the whole
event. Briefly explain the details, encourage people to bring co-workers and friends, announce
recommended attire plus drink/food options, and ask them to RSVP. Some people may use online
party/event sites, but you can also impress guests with something classy, creative and personally
addressed via snail mail.
- Drinks: In social situations, alcohol can help you conquer the nervous
butterflies and loosen up. Brooklyn
Based says to put booze at the top of the party planning list. It recommends an entire keg,
but you can probably get away with some regional beer and wine that might spark good
conversations. Don’t forget juice or soft drinks for people who prefer sobriety, and don't
forget to remind them about safe driving habits. If your event is being held at a site that
doesn't normally serve alcohol, you might be required to obtain a temporary liquor license. Check
with your state's department of liquor control.
- Mingle: Don’t get stuck in the kitchen or behind the bar at your own
party. Because you’re the authority on these hybrid social/business functions, talk to
everyone, especially guests you don't know. Introduce people who might have interests in common.
Before the party, order business cards
for yourself and remind your guests to do the same. Google Forms allows users to create free surveys and
collect attendees responses in a spreadsheet. Encourage others to swap cards as well, and provide
pens for those who want to follow the example of the TheInternQueen.com, which suggests jotting
notes to help you remember details about new people you meet.
- Reflect: Beyond basic summarizing that X guests drank X bottles of wine, the
end of the party is when your own networking should kick in. BizSite4, which arranges networking
parties in Arizona, suggests immediately writing personalized thank-you notes or at least emails
to every guest, and ask them to share their experiences or suggestions for future gatherings. If
you offered a door prize or larger incentive to get people to attend, you can select and award it
now. This gives you another reason to contact your guests. If you – and your place –
made it through the event, you may even want to consider making these parties regular