All small business owners come to learn the importance of networking with their local communities. Networking helps boost our businesses in various ways. It can help us meet potential clients, employees, and help us learn how to run our businesses better. But, networking is often done the wrong way. So, avoid networking faux pas and stick to these tips when you plan your next event.
Create a planning committee
Whether you’re planning your own event or are coordinating with other small business owners, it’s important to rely on the guidance of an event planning committee. Make sure to recruit a diverse group of people who can help represent the needs of those who will be attending.
Be aware of the space, time, and location of the event.
Planning a networking event after work in a bar is common, but it doesn’t always work for everyone. During your planning time, make sure to present questions that will help create an intentional and comfortable atmosphere for everyone. Ask questions like, Will women feel safe here? or Is this setting comfortable for those who choose not to drink alcohol?
You might consider using different tools to gain insight from those who will be participating in the event. Survey tools like, Survey Monkey or Typeform, allow you to design your own survey and gather organized data from those who complete the form. Surveys can help you gather information when it comes to where to host the event and at which time or day of the week. The key to hosting a great event is to make sure all voices are heard and represented! So, don’t be afraid to ask the questions that are on your mind.
Think outside the box
While most networking events occur in the evening, you might consider hosting a daytime event during the workweek. This might allow a greater attendance, while also promoting a healthy work-life balance for your event-goers. Try hosting a lunch or breakfast and stay away from alcohol centric events.
Networking should be fun, and of course, it should be accessible to everyone. Don’t forget to ask your guests for their needs, like handicap accessibility or dietary restrictions. Making an intentional event that everyone can enjoy will say a lot about your business and what it represents. When it comes to planning an inclusive networking event, what’s worked for you and your team?