A professional networking event should be inspiring and useful, prompting introductions between different mindsets and the emergence of new ideas.
It should be an uplifting experience which leaves guests feeling optimistic about attending your event. Organising such an occasion can be daunting, and to help you achieve this, our team at Horsfall Community Stadium in Bradford have put together some top tips for organising a business networking event.
Set Out Your Goals
Get to grips with your main intentions. Are there specific points you are hoping to convey? Are you wanting to inspire and influence your audience? Or get the ball rolling with potential professional contacts? It may be a good idea to jot these down and consider how best to go about achieving them within the available timeframe.
Additionally, it’s important to have a general idea of what your guests will be expecting from you. Research current trends regarding your business model, and the kinds of questions other professionals are likely to ask. The better prepared you are, the better you will come across and the more successful the occasion will be!
Consider Setting A Budget
As with any decision relating to business, you should analyse the cost-benefit ratio of your event. Think about what you will get out of running the event and how best to achieve that. Consider if the event should be free or if guest should pay a fee to attend. Once you know what you want to achieve and how you expect to make your money back, set your budget accordingly
Host the Networking Event at an Appropriate Location, Date and Time
The guest list for your event will consist of professional individuals with busy schedules. Consider what date and time are most appropriate for those you are hoping will show their faces. It is a good idea to book your venue well in advance to get your invites out as soon as possible and allow your guests plenty of time to alter their schedule if need be.
It is also incredibly important that business events are held in an accessible place with easy transport links. Horsfall is the perfect place for professionals with busy lives, with bus links into Bradford and further, and Low Moor train station near by.
Decide on the Tone of your Event
If you are hoping to arrange a casual gathering of colleagues, a relaxing space with a bar may be most appropriate, giving your guests a sense of a break from their busy lifestyles. In this case, hosting the event in the evening and outside of business hours would be most appropriate. Our clubhouse is especially fitting for a less formal, casual event.
If you are going for a more professional feel, ensure that your venue looks suitable with simple, plain or elegant decor. Or tailor the room to suit the style of your company, perhaps by matching the tablecloth colours to your logo. Dress in appropriate and professional attire, encouraging your team to do the same, to give your guests an immediate positive first impression and strengthen their trust in you and your colleagues as individuals. If you wish for a formal gathering, our hospitality suite here at Horsfall would be an appropriate choice, which can be booked as a private function room and set up as you wish.
Provide Food and Refreshments
Keep guests energised by serving food. If you choose to host at Horsfall you may bring in your own buffet and we will provide a table for you, assisting with setting up and advising on the layout. Having a buffet also encourages guests to move around and bump into more people. Hot and cold beverages are also a good idea, something Horsfall can provide for you. For more casual gatherings, both the function room and the clubhouse provides a bar from which guests will have a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments.
Set a Schedule
Consider how long your event should go on and create a carefully timed schedule which allows you to achieve your goals effectively and efficiently.
You could start off your event with an impressive introduction, perhaps a presentation or a video. Horsfall’s hospitality suite has a large screen projector and an in-house sound system perfect for this.
It is also a good idea to prompt guests to get engaged in the conversation, avoiding a simple lecture style meeting. Perhaps a team building exercise to break the ice, some simple games, or a light-hearted quiz, keeping in mind that these should stay relevant to the nature of the event. It is a good idea to have stations dotted around the room to encourage individuals to move around and make more introductions.
At the end of an inspiring presentation and networking activities, have business cards at the ready to hand out, something to remind guests of the memorable event and quickly provide them with relevant contact information.
Organise Your Business Networking Event at Horsfall Community Stadium
Horsfall is a versatile venue with multiple spaces, all of which can be tailored to suit the feel of your business. Our team will be on hand from the moment you reach out to offer advice and assistance, doing our upmost to ensure that your event is a memorable success and leaves your guests feeling positive and uplifted.