Recently, we had the pleasure of attending the United Regional Chamber of Commerce’s “Alive After Five” networking event held at Village Green Apartments. We always have a blast at Village Green and loved connecting with the local community, sharing bites and business tips.
Local networking events are a great way to meet new people, build relationships, attract new clients. You may be thinking about hosting a local networking event. Or perhaps you are a small business owner venturing out to your first networking breakfast or attending your company’s staff happy hour. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for setting yourself up for networking success.
Hint: Good food is always a must!
DO: Stick to finger foods and passed apps
Eating can get messy, and as much as we love food that’s not the look you want to go for when meeting a potential business partner or client for the first time. Skip anything that requires a fork and knife (let’s save that for the weddings) or is drenched with sauce, and opt for simple finger foods and passed apps!
Having a networking appropriate (and delicious) menu is especially important if you’re the one planning the party.
Here are a few of our go-to fan favorites:
- Fresh fruit tray
- Assorted cheese and crackers
- Hummus & tabouli with pita and assorted crackers
- Shrimp cocktail
- Scallops wrapped in bacon
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Phyllo cups (like Spanakopita or Bruschetta)
- Tomato Mozzarella skewers with pesto
Take a peek at a full list of our a la carte menu items here!
DON’T: Overdo it on the alcoholic beverages
It’s fine to enjoy a drink, but remember you’re there to network so keep it professional. Stick to a one to two drink minimum, or skip the alcohol altogether and opt for bottled water, soda or coffee.
At B & M, we offer an array of bar services including a beer/wine/soda bar, cash bars, and open bars, depending on your needs. Hosting a morning event? We’ve also got you covered with coffee and juice!
DO: Follow the dress code
Before you head out to your event, be sure to check in with the dress code. Whether it’s business, business casual or summer BBQ, stick to the code and dress to impress!
DON’T: Hide out with your friends
It’s easy to stick around with the people you’re most comfortable with (like your business partner or office buddy), but challenge yourself to make new contacts as well. This is your chance to shine and expand your network!
DO: Practice your elevator pitch in advance
Networking parties give you a chance to introduce yourself and set yourself apart from the crowd. When you have just seconds, you want to make it count! Keep your elevator pitch short and sweet (at about 30 seconds) and be sure to share your name/company’s name, who you serve and what makes you unique.
Our quick intro: Here at B & M Catering, we’ve been providing Clambakes, Pig Roasts, Barbecues and Bar Services for thirty years and would love to cater your next special event! By the way, did you know we’ll also deliver the food hot or cold right to your door?
DON’T Forget your business cards
Networking is all about meeting new contacts and growing your list, so be sure not to forget your business cards! This is a great way to share where people can find you, and bonus: many networking events have business card “fish bowl” raffles at the door. Win, win!
DO: Follow up with new contacts
Now that you’ve made some new contacts, it’s time for the most important part: following up!
Whether you’re looking to grab coffee to brainstorm ideas for a new business idea or want to touch base with a potential client who expressed interest in your services, the follow up is key. You may also want to send potential clients your newsletter or service menu if they’d like more information!
DON’T: Forget to have fun!
Last but not least, remember to loosen up a bit and have fun! If you’re in charge of hosting the networking event, consider providing a photo booth, raffles, games, and prizes to keep it lighthearted and interactive for the attendees. This will help break the ice and tame some of the nerves!
Are you planning a networking party for your staff, residents or community? Reach out today to request a quote and start planning your menu!