Perhaps your business is hiring, maybe you’re looking to show off a new office space, or even looking for new prospects. You’ve seen others do it and you’ve decided to play host and invite people into your world by hosting an event.
What’s the point though? Why an event? What value does an event hold for its organiser or attendees? The answer is very simple: events let you build relationships.
For me, a successful event is one that facilitates the building of relationships. The best events make it easier to get to know new people and connect with familiar faces on a deeper level. So, start planning because here are my top 7 tips for holding an event that does just that.
1: Establish a Goal
What is the point of your event? Was it meeting 10 potential hires, or getting to know a prospect better? Perhaps it’s something lighter like showing off a new office. Make sure you set some tangible goals. You can set goals like number of attendees, or be more specific, like meeting 10 potential new hires or 20 new leads. Make sure that your goals are realistic and you can actually measure them Once you have a goal in mind, plan your event accordingly.
2: Food & Beverages
As Julia Child said: “A party without cake is just a meeting”. Your event shouldn’t feel like “yet another meeting” or event where people eat, drink and mingle. No matter if it’s during the day or after work, your attendees are likely to be hungry and thirsty! Whether it’s a full meal or something to snack on, people will have an easier time feeling comfortable if they aren’t thinking about escaping to the nearest McDonalds. A meal and appropriate beverages serve as a great opportunity for people to interact with each other naturally.
3: Show Off
Do you have a cool office layout? Or perhaps your fridge is stocked with goodies for the office? Give tours of your space and you’ll see that physical space is something that lots of people are interested in. Sharing ideas and each others experiences is a fantastic way to break the ice and get the conversation flowing.
4: Passive Participation
Despite all your efforts to make people comfortable and encourage people to interact, there might be some that aren’t into it. Host a talk or something that attendees can engage in but don’t have to actively participate. Some people are also more comfortable engaging online rather than in person so make sure you have hashtags set up and encourage guests to engage in conversation online.
5: Group Activities
One of your responsibilities as host is to entertain and give people a reason to interact, so plan something social to help break the ice. This can be anything ranging from a games setup (we love foosball and a big Jenga set) to having people brainstorm ideas in groups. The best activities will be ones that get people to engage with each other.
6: Follow Up
This one is for both organisers and attendees. You’ve probably met a lot of people at this event, so don’t let those newfound connections and friendships disappear. Following up can be as easy as sending a LinkedIn connection request, or as personalized as sending an email directly to the person based on your conversations. No matter what, make sure you keep in touch.
7: Track Success
Way back when you were planning this event you set a goal. Did you meet it? What could you do better next time? Take some time to sit down and think about how successful your event was based on your metrics. Getting feedback from attendees (both internal and external) can also be a great way to gauge the success of your event.