Facilitated Networking with Smart Marketing

Networking events are a classic part of the business world and for good reason.

Networking is a great way to meet people who can become useful business contacts or even potential customers.

Why Is Networking Useful?

Networking events come in many different forms, from simple mingling with a drink to concepts like ‘speed networking’. The main purpose of networking opportunities is to meet new people.

In an informal setting, you can mingle with other professionals. Some events focus on a specific industry or job level, whereas others are more open. Both kinds of events are useful for relationship building.

You can meet people who might be potential customers, people whose services you might need in the future, or people who may be useful contacts for you and your business. You can gather business cards and other contact information from other attendees.

What Is Facilitated Networking?

Networking events can be stressful to run. The advantage of using a professional networking facilitator is that the pressure of running a successful event is lifted from you. Whether you’re running an event for 5 or 500 attendees, a facilitator can work as an event organizer for you and take over anything from planning to MCing the event.

A facilitator can make an event more successful by coming up with unique concepts to encourage effective networking and can keep a positive, dynamic feeling in the room.

A facilitator can work as a professional MC for the evening to keep the event on track and energetic, or they can use creative methods to engage your delegates. They can also simply work to manage your event for you, whether you’re running networking games or just a happy hour.

Top Tips For Effective Networking

  1. Show up to the event early. It can be tempting to arrive a little late so you’re not the first person there. Try to resist this urge and aim to arrive on time. When the event is quieter, it will be calmer, and people won’t have settled into groups yet. You’ll have a better network event experience with fewer people in the room, as you can talk to everyone without trying to get into established groups. You can also talk to the facilitator before the room fills up and take advantage of them being able to introduce you to people.
  2. Don’t wait for someone to approach you. If the event is a more classic ‘drink and mingle’ happy hour style it can be tempting to stand at the edge of the room and wait for someone to approach you, especially if you’re not a natural extrovert. Start easy, and just walk up to a group with conversation starters in mind and ask something like, “May I join you?”. Ask easy icebreaker questions, like “what brings you to this event?” or “What do you do?”. If you’re not an extrovert, chances are, you’re a good listener, so even if you’re struggling to talk much to yourself, you can listen intently and make a good impression that way. 
  3. Drop the sales pitch. Try to avoid the hard sell, and focus on building relationships instead. If someone does ask about your company or your products, have a short, succinct answer ready. Think elevator pitch, not a full sales meeting. A short sentence or two about what you do and one or two recent company achievements is much more effective than a full sales pitch. You’re networking at an event, not chairing a meeting.
  4. If you’re nervous, smiling will help you to feel more confident and has the added bonus of making you look friendly and approachable. Smile throughout the conversations you have and you’ll seem inviting, and will be remembered as someone positive and friendly by the people you speak to.
  5. Be a good listener. If you’re nervous, it can be easy to accidentally talk too much. Try not to hijack the conversation too much and remember to listen to the other attendees too.
  6. Remember to follow up. Networking events are the beginning of the conversation, so if you’re going to build on those relationships, you need to follow-up after the event. A few days later, take a look at the business cards you collected and decide who you should reach out to. You could do this via email, or through a friendly message on social media. Send the person a short message, saying it was to nice to meet them at the event (this makes sure they remember where you met) and reference something interesting that you discussed together. 

Use Smart Marketing as your Network Facilitator

Smart Marketing provide the facilitation of groups of people from 5 to 500 people. Network event often require an independent facilitator to create novel concepts to promote networking and manage the dynamic in the room.  We have vast experience of facilitated networking of business events and meetings.

Some of our clients include Local Enterprise Offices and LINC Engineering Network

So whether you are seeking a professional and energetic MC for your event or a creative way to engage delegates or simply require a facilitator to manage the event Smart Marketing have it for you.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements

Theresa Networking Facilitation - hosting panel talks - Business event coordination