Only a few cities in the United States are experiencing economic growth like San Antonio. It’s a land of opportunity for professionals, which is why it’s a hot spot for networking events.
The San Antonio workforce is 1,067,400 strong, but that doesn’t mean your corporate networking event is guaranteed to draw in a crowd. Follow these tips to ensure your event attracts professionals who are ready to network.
Look at the Local Demographics
The better you know your target market, the easier it is to convince them to join your networking event. Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics San Antonio Area Economic Summary to get a general idea of the workforce within the city. From there begin to look at demographics within your industry including gender, age, hobbies, religion and political affiliation. It will give you an idea about the types of activities and venues that will interest your target audience.
Choose a Date and Time That Works for Networkers
In the eyes of many professionals, networking events are part of the work week. Sure, they may be sipping on a beer, but they’ve made time for the event with the express purpose of furthering their career in some way.
That’s why week days after regular business hours are typically the best time for a networking event. But before you create the invites, check on a few things first. Check community calendars to see when big events are taking place. Other events can limit the attendance and venue selections. You’ll also want to check the traffic around the venue before deciding on a time. Along roads like northeast Loop-410 and Stone Oak Parkway where traffic is heavy during rush hour, you may want to push the start time back to 6pm or later.
Get the Word Out to Professional Organizations
People in San Antonio have a lot of options in terms of things to do after work. The first step to host a successful networking event is getting the word out.
Start a San Antonio Meetup group to promote the networking event. Make the group easy to be found by including key terms like “San Antonio” and “networking” in the group name. You can also use Meetup to see when other networking events are happening and plan your event around them.
Another free way to promote your corporate networking event is through Facebook. Use your organization’s page to tell other people about the event and encourage them to share the details with their friends. Whenever possible, leverage social media influencers to get the word out about the event.
Eventbrite is a great resource for any group that is planning an event. You can use the platform to post details and give people an easy way to RSVP.
Use Games to Break the Ice
Networking events are only successful when they get people talking. Even though people have come to network, once they’re at the event they may shy away from starting conversations. Games are a great way to break the ice and get people talking without added pressure.
Choose a popular activity that facilitates interaction like a Texas Hold’em poker tournament, Spurs-themed basketball games or industry-related trivia contests. This is when your demographic research really pays off.
Choose a Social Setting
A relaxed, social environment helps encourage people to start communicating. It can also prompt people to come to the event in the first place. San Antonio venues that provide a social atmosphere, and access to adult beverages and good food are going to increase interest. Until your networking group establishes a name for itself, focus on venues that add an element of fun.
Add Value for Professionals
Another way to attract attendees is to offer something of professional value. It could be getting a local business owner to be the guest speaker, hosting an instructive seminar or giving attendees informative handouts. You may also want to consider hosting a series of networking events that follow a theme and build off of one another, so the more events a person attends the more value the person receives.
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