Our digital-first world is bursting with new opportunities to take your business to the next level. And because you’re here, on Alignable, building connections, leading groups, and growing your network, you’re already off to a great start.
Want to boost your success even more? Host virtual networking events.
And now it’s easy because you can do it right here on Alignable.
Whether you’ve never hosted a networking event before or you’re looking for expert tips on running spectacular events that get results, you’re in the right spot.
So, let’s get started!
Your Crash Course On Running A Great Networking Event
Step 1: Choose what type of networking event you want to host
First up, select the type of networking event that clarifies for your audience what value they’ll receive from attending, suggests events expert Sunil Bhaskaran of Global Business Mastermind. And be sure to spell out the event’s purpose in the format (e.g., a meet and greet, educational session, speed networking, mastermind, and so on).
Unsure what type of networking event you want to host? Here are a few ideas!
Business owners are looking for ways to meet, connect and network with like-minded individuals, virtually. Quick Connects are Alignable’s virtual networking events which are hosted by Group Leaders and offer their group members a chance to connect virtually, face-to-face via Zoom breakout rooms. The host is empowered to provide the attendees with networking tips, discussion starter topics & an environment that makes them want to come back for more!
And then 2 attendees are selected by the Group Leader and are sent off to a virtual breakout room for a short time – like 6 minutes – to introduce themselves and get to know something about each other.
Then they come back to the group and they’re each assigned another person for a different 6-minute session, and so on until the virtual hour-long event is over.
This way, each participating member can “Quick Connect” with around 10 people in an hour – and those people can all decide if they want to reach out for more time with their favorite folks after the session or not.
It’s basically like Speed Dating, but for small business owners seeking their ideal partners for ongoing business relationships. It’s an incredible way to meet a lot of people in a short time, so that you can see if you’re clicking with the other business owner or not.
The term ‘Mastermind’ was coined by Napoleon Hill (the author of, Think and Grow Rich). It’s based on the idea that everyone has a powerful mind, but when putting two or more minds together, a third mind is formed that’s even more powerful.
A mastermind is comprised of a group of peers who meet in a safe environment to both give and receive advice. It includes brainstorming, education, peer accountability, and support.
Members challenge each other to set strong goals, and more importantly, to accomplish them. They will discover new resources and achieve their own goals more quickly and easily than any of us might on our own. In a Mastermind session, each person gets a set amount of time in the ‘hot seat,’ where they ask a question, then get advice and ideas from the other members of the group. It’s really quite powerful!
Local Virtual Networking Events:
Looking to build local business relationships? Join your local Alignable Alliance. Our Alliances exist to connect local small businesses for in-person and online events. These events are meant to create meaningful relationships, inspire community support, enhance personal growth, and break conventional networking barriers. To find a local networking event near you, go to https://www.alignablealliance.com/
Step 2: Choose a date & time
Decide if this will be a one-off networking event or a repeat event. If you’re running a repeat event, keep the time consistent and the agenda clear. For example, you run your event every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. EST or the first Friday of every month.
Step 3: Find the right audience
One of the top challenges, when you start running virtual networking events, is figuring out how to get people to show up. If you’re new to virtual events, try these tips:
- Get personal: Invite people individually and try to lock in their commitment to show up.
- Bring a friend: Encourage each attendee to bring one new person with them.
- Spread the word: Use all of your channels to promote the event. Social media, email campaigns or newsletters, and your website and/or blog are just a few ways to get the word out.
- Send reminders: Keep your event top of mind with pre-event reminders to those who RSVPed. If your attendee list is small, make these personal messages.
- Manage your expectations: It can take a bit to get in the swing of things, so don’t be discouraged if attendance is low the first few times. Keep being consistent, promoting, and adding value each time. Don’t give up – sooner or later, you’ll have an event people really want to attend.
Want to drive repeat attendees? Check out these strategies:
- Stay consistent and add value: Attendees will come back if they get something valuable from your event.
- Ask for feedback: Check in with your attendees after the event: Was it fun? Did it add value? How could you improve the event next time?
- Reminders: Even if you use a third-party platform like Zoom, it’s still important to send your personalized reminders.
Step 4: Run your event like a pro
If you follow the tips above, you’re set up for success already. Now all you have to do is run the event. Here are Alignable experts’ insider tips for making it go smoothly.
- Keep introductions short and time them: Business owners and people generally love to talk about themselves —it’s part of who we are. But intros that drag on can derail your event.
- Stick to the agenda: Make sure you let your attendees know the agenda ahead of time, and then remind them again before you get started. Once the expectations are set, follow them. And be sure to start and end on time.
- Use the breakout rooms: If it makes sense with your event, plan some time for breakouts where attendees can chat 1:1 or with small groups of other attendees about the theme of the event. If you can, have a few groups share the results of their conversations.
- Promote your next event: You have a captive audience, so get them excited about the next event you’re offering. Mention the time, date, purpose, and agenda. Tell attendees to mark their calendars now and that you’ll remind them closer to the event date.
Step 5: Circle back with everyone after your event
Your event is over—congrats on an awesome job! But don’t call it done just yet. The days after your event are just as important as the event itself. Here’s what to do:
- Ask for feedback: When the event is still top of mind, send out a feedback survey or request form to see what people thought. Did they enjoy it? Find value in it? What could you do better? What would make it different from any other event they’ve ever attended?
- Send personal follow-up emails: Just like with invites, it’s a good idea to create personalized follow-up emails to check in with your participants.
- Post about your event on social media: Keep the excitement going by posting exciting sound bites, quotes, images, or video clips after the event. And tag as many members as possible, so they see the posts and can share them again.
- Analyze your success: Take a look at metrics on your event to determine how it went. This includes anything from the post-event survey results to the number of leads you generated to an increase in traffic to your site.
How To Host Your Networking Event On Alignable
Now that you have an expert-backed event tool kit, it’s time to learn how to host an event right on Alignable.
First off, anyone can host events—either from your home feed, in a group or within your local alliance. Steps may vary depending on the type of event you’re hosting. Let’s get started.
Step 1: Determine What Event Type You’re Hosting
- Your Networking Page: At the top of your home feed, click “Write a Post” to open the menu. Then, choose the option: “Add an Event” > “Virtual Event.”
- Quick Connect In Groups: To host an event in groups you must be a group leader or moderator. If you’re already the moderator, at the top of your group page, click “Write a Post” to open the menu. Then, choose the option: “Add an Event” > “Virtual Event.”
Want to apply to be a group leader? Check out the application here!
- Local Virtual Event: If you want to host a virtual networking event with ONLY your local community, join your local Alliance. In order to host an event, you must be an Alliance Ambassador. Or, you can contact your Alliance Ambassador to help you set up this event.
Want to learn more about the Alignable Alliances? Visit our Alignable Alliance site linked here.
Step 2: Fill Everything In
Fill in your virtual event information including a header photo, event title, event date, and event description.
Step 3: Decide How To Host The Event
Pick the platform you’ll use to run your event. You have two options:
- If you use this option, you can host up to 300 attendees for however long you like absolutely free— (you’re saving $20 per month)!
- Add a link to the virtual conferencing tool you’re most comfortable using, like Webex, GoogleMeet, BlueJeans, your own Zoom, etc. If you choose this option, simply add the link to your event.
Step 4: Select your audience.
You can choose to make your event visible to your community, your network, your group, or if you’re a Premium member, up to 5 nearby communities. We’ll help spread the word to these groups, too.
Step 5: Click “Post” to publish your event.
You should see it listed as a post in your group or on your feed. We’ll also let your group members or community and network know about your event, so you can get more attendees.
Let’s Get Networking!
You should have everything you need to get your first (or best) networking event up and running on Alignable. So, get out there, host awesome events, and see how your business changes for the better.
Interested in attending networking events? Check out some of the opportunities below:
- Local Networking Events: Join your local alliance to learn about in-person and virtual networking events happening in your community.
- My Networking Events: Check out your “My Networking Events” page. Here you’ll learn about virtual & in-person events hosted by your Alignable network.
- Networking Education: Register for the upcoming events to learn more about the new way of networking & how to be successful.
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