Networking Tips

-

7 Ways to Host a Successful Business Mixer

By: Eden Creamer-Hurdle
  • Category

    Networking Tips

  • Author

    Eden Creamer-Hurdle

  • Post Date

Thinking about planning a business mixer? This can be a great way to not only network with people you already know, but to meet people that your connections may have invited. Being the host can also provide you plenty of benefits, but to be positively remembered by your guests, consider these tips when planning your next event.

 

  1. If you have the space, host the mixer in your office as opposed to renting out a space. Apart from being a great cost saving opportunity, this is a great way to build exposure for your business. Even guests you don’t have an opportunity to talk to one-on-one will remember your business’ name as the host of the event they attended. Make sure the rest of your event is a positive memory for them to associate with your business.
  2. Plan your mixer well in advance. To maximize the possibility of attendance, be sure to plan your event 6 to 8 weeks in advance. This allows your invited guests maximum time to arrange their scheduled to allow them to attend. Having ample RSVP time also gives you a more accurate headcount and lets you coordinate food or drink for your mixer.
  3. On that note, don’t forget the food and drink! While most people don’t go to a mixer expecting a full meal, usually mixers will be an hour or two after the usual close of business. For most people, this is right in the middle of evening meal time. To keep your guests from leaving early (or just not showing up!) because their stomachs are grumbling, be sure to offer some snacks, and promote in your invite that you will have food or drink. Be sure to set proper expectations though – if you are offering light appetizers, be sure to say that so your guests don’t arrive expecting to make a full meal.
  4. Have a door prize. There are plenty of ways you can do this, but be sure your giveaway is something of at least moderate value, that your guests will find useful. If this item is also an item that in some way relates to your business, whether it be a promotional item, or a product that you offer, this can be a great way to ensure you leave a lasting mark on your guests.
  5. Have a space where your guests can put out information about their products or services. Set aside a few tables near the front or back of the room with a sigh labeling them. This allows a guest to look through the table and collect information on guests whom they may not have had the opportunity to personally connect with.
  6. Don’t spend a lot of time giving presentations or doing introductions. While you may think you need to do something like this to fill time, your guests are likely there because they want to network, not because they want to hear a sales pitch. Let your guests make new connections with one another and do some networking yourself, as opposed to trying to present.
  7. If you want to plan something during the event, schedule time to have a networking-related game. One suggestion used in BNI is “Meet Your (Business) Match”, where everyone pulls a card out of a hat with one half of a famous duo written on it. Your guests must then network around the room meeting people until they meet his or her partner.

 

What are your must-haves at a business networking mixer? Share your story with us at successnet@bni.com