Business Networking Tip #10: Host An Event

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After you have connected with a number of people who share a common interest, it's a good time for you to host an event to bring these people together.

There are many types of events you can host, from round table discussion groups to larger community meetings with speakers and an opportunity to network.

Here's a short checklist of the steps to preparing for an event:

  • Choose a topic to present on that you are familiar with
  • Choose a convenient location
  • Prepare an agenda and event description
  • Create a PowerPoint presentation and handouts
  • E-mail an announcement containing a link to the event description and RSVP form using

The types of events and locations include:

Type of Event Size Venue
Discussion group 5-7 people Restaurant with private dining room
Workshop teaching a skill 10-20 people Hotel or banquet/meeting facility
Speaker and networking 20+ people Hotel or company conference/training room
Conference with multiple speakers 100+ people Hotel, conference center, or resort

For small events you can draw upon your own network of contacts. However, for larger events you may want to partner with other presenters and send event announcements to people on each presenters' contact list.

Becoming a public speaker and event organizer has several advantages beyond building a contact network. Speakers are frequently asked to consult on projects, join community task forces and committees, and be interviewed by the media. In addition, producing conferences and similar events can become a significant source of revenue and profit.

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Cliff, you've inspired me to do something like this at the university to go to. I think it could turn into a fabulous networking opportunity. Thanks!

This site has been simply wonderful as I am researching how I can begin hosting small conference and networking events in my city. There aren't many networking events here outside of the Chamber of Commerce. In Tip #10 you mentioned that these events could become significant source of revenue or profit. Can you elaborate on that? I know how beneficial this could be for the businesses and the professionals here in my area. Please advise me as to how I can move forward without emptying my bank account.

MonicaLisa, thanks for the kind words.

There are several ways to hold networking events that generate revenue and profit.

Independent businesspeople and small business owners are very price sensitive, so it's important to keep the cost for attendees as low as possible.

For the free networking events we host here in Los Angeles, we use a hotel's large lobby/bar area for free. We have had several large companies want to sponsor free food for the event in order to market to our attendees. If you do this, consider charging sponsors more than your costs in order to make it profitable for you.

If you decide to rent a meeting room, you will probably need to charge attendees a small fee to attend (in addition to obtaining sponsors). We've seen that people are willing to spend up to about $10 to attend a large networking event with quality attendees.

By recruiting several well-connected people to help you invite people, you'll have enough paying attendees to cover your costs -- with a small profit left over.

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