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Be the Star of Your Own Network

Be the Star of Your Own Network

Ian Christie | Monster Contributing Writer

How would you like to establish yourself as the hub of an expanding network? Organizing and hosting your own networking events is a smart way to accomplish this.

Why should you host an event? First, you will take charge of meeting new people and expanding your network. Second, you establish yourself as a connector, creating a reason for people to want to know you. Third, you will strengthen your own relationships, because you will genuinely be helping other people.

Here’s how to get started:

1. Determine the Kind of Event You Want to Host

I highly recommend a formal, organized networking event at which each attendee gets less than five minutes to talk about himself and his problem or opportunity. Then the other participants contribute ideas, connections, advice and referrals. At the end, attendees mingle.

2. Choose a Venue

Pick a spot where you can all sit at a table, or if it is a bigger group, fit into a room. Cafes or a reserved table or function room at a restaurant are good choices, as are library meeting rooms.

3. Select and Invite Your Initial Guests

The success of your event will rest largely on the quality of the attendees, so make your guest list carefully. The best guests will be able to describe what they need clearly and concisely and will also have valuable suggestions or information for others.

Decide whether you want your invitees to bring their own guests. If they do, you will be able to expand the group faster. Remember, however, you could lose control over who’s coming. One way to mitigate that risk is to encourage invitees to refer their contacts to you. When creating your guest list, talk to these prospective invitees to get an idea of whether they would be good additions to the group.

4. Send an Agenda and Intros

Email a list of all confirmed attendees with a two- to four-sentence bio of each. Reviewing this information beforehand will help guests maximize their networking efforts, because they will know a bit about who they will be meeting. Also confirm the date, time and directions to the location. Send it to the group three to five days before the event and again the day before.

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