Small Business Networking Events
In theory, networking events are a great idea. Unfortunately, many times we even sign up for them in theory – meaning we sign up, but don’t attend. Be honest, how many times have you signed up to attend a networking event but then didn’t go because something “came up.” Well you’re not the only one.
What if someone created networking events that were new, more interactive, and edgier? Would attendance be up then? Here are some networking event ideas for you to think about.
Here are 10 awesome small business networking events your company should put on:
One easy way to guarantee attendance at your event is to hold it somewhere really fun or adventurous. The theory of the Lost Lectures is to bring your guests to a space that is the exact opposite of a conference room or office space. Some examples, a park at night, backstage at a theater, a barber shop after hours, etc. There could be a surprise talk by a member of the theater cast or the director, as well to make it buzzworthy.
Sort of like holding a conference backwards, this event has its merits, and could be a lot of fun for participants. A theme is announced ahead of time. There is no agenda and no other planned program items. If attendees wish to lead a discussion they can, and so can everyone else.
More common in the graphics and design areas, Pecha Kucha is a way for an artist or designer to quickly show 20 images in a row at 20 seconds each. This has now caught on all over the world.
Rapid Demos or Speed Geeking
In the same design as Speed Dating, presenters are scattered around the room, while small groups of individuals travel between them every time the bell rings. This is an excellent way for the presenters to practice their pitches, and the audience gets to see all these great products within an hour or so.
Fishbowl or Samoan Circle
A large ring of chairs is set up, and another smaller ring is set up inside that ring. The individuals on the inner ring can speak and discuss the topic. Those on the outer ring can only listen, unless they get up and switch places with someone on the inner ring.
After the keynote address, the Facilitator suggests a problem that needs to be solved
Each group gets together, decides on a solution and submits it.
Next, all but one member moves on to the next table.
The person that remains at each table shares knowledge with the new team mates and the new “group” attempts to improve upon that idea.
Maybe the acoustics are bad where you’re meeting, or the information is proprietary, or maybe you just want to look cool. Either way, there are several good reasons to have a silent conference where everyone stands together wearing headphones. They can even watch the graphics on their phones if you want, just make sure the place has WiFi.
Open Mic Jam
Anyone who wishes can go up on stage and speak for a designated number of minutes about their new idea, product or brand. Be ready to hear some honest feedback from your contemporaries.
Get two individuals with opposing viewpoints (or opposing career viewpoints) up on the stage or have two teams take opposing viewpoints, and see how much fun that can be – Big Business vs. Small, Coffee vs. Tea, Buyers vs. Sellers. Enjoy the debate.
Multi Sensory Mash up
Remember that it’s not only about projection screens and Powerpoint, break up the monotony with other physical or tactile items. Take your session outside. Have lunch with the food trucks.
If you want to guarantee a big turnout for your next networking event, choose one of these fun and intriguing themes. Networking should be enjoyable and natural and the best way to stoke the fire is by stepping out of the box.