How to organize a private networking dinner

A networking event is an opportunity for people to meet new faces and build their connects. Most events can be turned into a networking event if the attendees devote some time to meeting strangers and establishing contact. However, it is easier to network during purposed networking events where you have opportunities to meet people who have similar objectives of expanding their reach and building contacts.

While most networking events are organized by professional groups, you can also organize a networking event personally. A private networking event serves two purposes, that of expanding your own reach and secondly of raising your social capital by enabling others to network. It could be a contributory event or sponsored, depending on the guest list and the objective.

I share a few tips on how to go about organizing a private networking event for your contact base.

  1. Make a selected list
  2. Right selection of venue
  3. Reminders
  4. Introductions
  5. People Flow
  6. Follow Up

Select List

You have to carefully curate the list of people you want to be at the event. Foremost decide a number of guest you think will make an effective event. Make the list keeping in mind a mix of demographics that makes the connects expandable. A multiple of trades and vocation would be a primary requirement as a builder meeting another makes lesser value, then a broker meeting a builder. The list must have people who have the potential to give and take.

Make a personal call to invite your guest. A What’s App message is good for a follow-up and reminder, but not for the first invite.

Venue

This is a very important consideration and to keep in mind is the location which must be central and reputed to give the guest comfort. If you are having a meeting at a restaurant then ensure that the sitting area gives enough privacy and does not resemble an open market. A banquet hall is a good bet and must have enough space for guests to move around. Food is another important element as that promotes a good mood.

Reminder

Plan to send two reminders to your guests, a week ahead and a day before the event. People are busy and though they may have put it on your calendar, they may have other priorities fighting for attention. A timely reminder keeps them bound to attend. Sending a What’s App reminder three days ahead, and then on the day of the event is an effective method.

Introductions

The guests may know you but are new to the others and hence your first task of the day is to break-the-ice. It could be a formal introduction where you ask guests to introduce themselves using a template, or a game that makes people familiar with each other. When you ask people to introduce themselves, make the house rules clear in terms of the time they have (usually 120 seconds), and the template they must follow to ensure completion of information.

It may also help to educate newbies about some basic networking skills to make their debut worth their time.

People Flow

During the course of the evening, you have to keep the conversation going. Watch for solo artists, corner-grabbers, and awkward silences. You have to keep your guest moving from one person to another to ensure that everyone has had a chance to meet up the maximum number of people in the evening. A game, like a quiz on people present, may keep the interest alive. To people who are new to networking provide some light tips to keep their motivation high.

Follow Up

Post events keep a follow up with your guest by sending some interesting anecdotes and images of the event. It will be a good idea to send a list of the attendees with their contact details so that everyone irrespective of having met them personally, will have the contact information.

Have you ever attended a private networking event? Did you organize one yourself? Let me have your comments.

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Chirantan Joshi is the co-founder of the E-Movers group based in Dubai and is an avid proponent of business networking. Corporate Connections UAE is his act.

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Chirantan Joshi

Chirantan Joshi

Chirantan Joshi is the co-founder of the E-Movers group based in Dubai and is an avid proponent of business networking. Corporate Connections UAE is his act.

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