Think about how many networking opportunities you’ve had in the past few months. You may have found yourself making connections at parties or continuing education courses, but who was the host?
When you plan and host your own event, you have more control over who attends, the flow of the event, and are likely to make more meaningful connections. Here are a few types of events you can host that you might not have considered using for networking.
Host a Dinner
Dinner parties can be as casual as a potluck or as formal as a catered meal. The key to a networking dinner party’s success is putting thought into the guest list. This isn’t the time to invite all your neighbors, colleagues, and best friends. Smaller guest lists of people who have never met but share a common interest or experience will make stronger connections. For example, you might invite five past or current clients who are recently new to your area. Or invite REALTORS® who specialize in different areas of the industry to talk about their experiences in the field.
Host a Housewarming Party
A housewarming party is another event that can be low-key or extravagant, and can potentially add many more people to your network. Unlike the dinner party with attendees who are strangers, your clients will likely have close friends and family in attendance. However, as the host, this is still your time to shine. Offer to be the official greeter and welcome guests as they arrive. Take on the role of passing out treats or refreshing everyone’s drinks. You’ll have a reason to talk to every attendee while your clients can relax with their guests.
Host a Regular Coffee Date
This is an even simpler networking event to throw, but its success is still dependent upon your guest list. Think about people who you want to foster deeper connections with, and then invite them out for low-stakes coffee dates (or lunch, or whatever it is that is inexpensive and easy to tackle). The key here is inviting people to meet with you regularly, which means you may want to set up a schedule and set up dates in advance. If you’re comfortable with it, you can also ask your coffee date to bring another person to tag along. Eventually, you’ll have stronger relationships with these people because of the time you’ve invested in getting to know them better.