With more and more networking groups popping up to support small business and freelancers hiring a venue for a networking event is becoming increasingly popular. So you have decided to host a networking event? What do you need to know about setting up and promoting?
Location is the key to running a successful event. Have you got a set town or group you are trying to appeal to?
If you want people to come from far and wide you need to make sure that public transport and parking are easy and make sure that you check out various routes and pop these into any event invitations.
Is the location neutral – i.e will all your attendees want to visit it? Holding an event in a church hall for instance may put religious and non religious attendees off attending your meeting. The same can be said about using a competitors meeting room. Try and look for something accessible to all.
The mood of the venue is also really important – is your meeting low key or do you want to make a big impact. You need to look for an environment that fits your meeting rather than hinder it. Somewhere dark and cozy is obviously not going to be beneficial for you. However somewhere light, airy and with enough space is ideal. You want that first impact to mean you have return visitors to your group.
Next you will need to cost up your event. Once you have a venue in place and are aware of any charges that are attached (refreshments, use of space etc) then you will be able to pop these charges against the cost of the meeting. Will you be making a profit on your group? Remember to make charges obvious and impress your attendees with your offering.
Here are just a few great venue ideas that could work for your networking event. You will need to decide on whether formal or informal is for you and your meeting adn how long your meeting will be. Will you be giving your networkers added value such as small business talks, workshops on expanding their business or business to business opportunities?
Hotels – a great idea especially if you have some overnight stayers and your networking event is a day event rather than a few hours.
Conference rooms and centres – purposely built for corporate needs. Pudsey Civic Hall is a great venue if you are looking for a modern day meeting room or venue. With a selection of various sized rooms this venue is perfect corporate and formal meetings as well as business brainstorming between networkers.
Share freelance office space and meeting rooms – ideal for freelancers or very small businesses.
Your networking event needs to shine and really make that first impression work for you. Venues can differ greatly in what they give to you so check whether you will need to have your attendees report to a reception or if you can meet in an open space to meet and great.
If you want a more informal event then a big open space in a hotel or conference centre bar may be a better idea. But make sure, again, that you know of any costs involved and whether other people may be using your room as a walk through disrupting your meeting.
What tips to do you have for finding the perfect networking venue? Do you run a networking event and you come across any difficulties finding that perfect venue?