Posted on January 6, 2014 · Posted in General

Ready to host your own networking event? There are a few things you should know before you book the venue and send out the invitations. Here are six tips for turning any business mixer into a success.

1. Forge Introductions

Make it your mission to know everyone in the room, even if they’re just the guest of someone you invited. Not only will this force you to make the rounds and spend equal amounts of time with everyone, but it will also give you the chance to establish connections between others when similar topics fly. “Oh, you’re from New York too? You should meet Joe, he was just telling me about his business in Manhattan…”

2. Offer Subtle Visual Cues

Prompt discussion by filling the room with talking points. For example, if you’re holding a technological mixer, one corner can have an HD TV while another prominently displays the latest iPad. Those interested in or knowledgeable about the products will naturally gravitate toward them, allowing like-minded individuals to come together and talk.

3. Circulate Goodies

Everyone loves a free gift, so allow your guests to liven up the place with a few marketing favors such as promotional products, which are more fun than traditional business cards. These promotional products can be imprinted with your company’s logo and contact details so every time they are used by current and potential customers, you gain marketing exposure. Companies like HALO will imprint everything from company logos to taglines on a variety of customized goods, and promotional totes, custom mugs, logo pens, and HALO custom tote bags are a great way to increase brand recognition among professionals. You can use promotional products like these during giveaways and contests or even when you are at an industry-specific tradeshow or conference.

4. Keep Everyone Engaged

The death knell of a networking event is when people begin leaving, sitting down, withdrawing to the shadows or otherwise showing anything but complete interest in the room. There are a few simple tricks you can employ to prevent this, like limiting the number of chairs and opting for appetizers instead of full meals so no one has to sit down to enjoy the food.

5. Play Games to Break the Ice

Put everyone’s name into a hat and match them up later in the evening. Offer silly rewards for whoever collects the most phone numbers. Give door prizes of promo pens and custom gift bags with your business logo imprinted on them. After all, you’re the host, and naturally everyone wants a piece of your company. Right?

6. Eliminate Distractions

You want everyone to have a good time, of course, but remember that the primary purpose of a networking event is business. Don’t play boisterous music or offer excessive amounts of alcohol. Don’t monopolize everyone’s time with speeches and overly long presentations. A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t do it at an office party, don’t do it at a professional mixer.

These are just a few tips for hosting a successful business and networking event. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to get people talking!