Guests at a corporate event being offered canapes by a server in a grand event space

Networking Events in Bristol

All you need to know about hosting successful Networking Events in Bristol!

Networking is an extremely crucial and useful aspect of any industry, and networking events are an ideal way to make these important connections. At a networking-focussed event, everyone in attendance has the same goal: to make worthwhile business connections that are mutually beneficial.

However, hosting a networking event is very different to being a guest at one. As the host, your aim is more to assist your attendees with making industry connections than making your own. The success of your event will directly impact what your new connections think of you, and the best way to make a good and lasting impression is by pulling off an effective networking event.

Define Your Goal

The perfect place to start when planning a networking event is to define a clear goal. Industry-wide networking events are useful, but it can be even more useful to narrow down your intended audience and hone in on a specific subset of your industry. Having a clear idea of who you want to help and what topics your event will focus on will help make the planning process smoother.

Bristol City Centre Wedding

Choose a Suitable Venue

Once the goal of your networking event is decided, you can then determine if it would be best to host a virtual or in-person event. There are benefits to both. For example, a virtual event allows you to invite an audience from a wider range of locations and it is more convenient for your audience to attend. However, in-person events can allow for more organic interactions between guests and creates a more memorable experience.

If you opt for an in-person event, your next step is to choose a suitable venue. Consider the aspects that are most important to you or your attendees, such as location and public transport access, capacity and ambience. For a beautiful city-centre venue with original historic features that can cater to a range of networking events, Armada House offers several versatile venue spaces with comprehensive amenities to suit your needs.

Exterior of three-storey Edwardian events venue with large windows and chandeliers visible through a window

Promote Your Event

Prior to the event you’ll want to promote it to your target audience and drum up anticipation for your attendees. Advertising on relevant industry groups on LinkedIn is the perfect way to announce an industry networking event. Instagram and Facebook are also great places to get the word out, especially if you’re willing and able to put some funding behind it with targeted ads. For a more personal touch, individual invites will make your guestlist feel sought-out, and hopefully honoured enough to accept the personalised invitation.

To get your guests to feel excited for the event you can send out upcoming details ahead of time. For example, if you’re offering entertainment, featured guests, or food, these are ideal to promote beforehand to incentivise people to attend. You can also create a private group for attendees where you can post updates and your future guests can start discussions ahead of the event.

Armada House Networking

Make An Agenda

To make the most of your event, a well-planned agenda will help. By providing structure and a schedule, your attendees won’t be dreading an unstructured event with no end in sight. Providing clear start and end times means your attendees will be more likely to stay for longer, because they have come into the event knowing what to expect and are mentally prepared to stay for the duration of it. Ideally, you want as many guests as possible to stay until the end; after all, you can’t network if half the people you want to network with have already left!

An agenda can also give attendees something to discuss: for example, a talk by an industry leader or a tour of the venue provides people with some common experiences to connect over from the jump. Though they might feel cliché, an ice-breaking activity can also encourage your guests to come out of their shell. Picking something collaborative and more involved—a team working challenge, a game or a quiz—will do wonders to help people feel more at ease and connected to those around them.

Armada House Stage

Provide An Enjoyable Atmosphere

Think back to some of the best events you’ve ever attended. Whether it be personal or professional, what probably made it such a memorable time for you is a combination of things: the people, the location, the entertainment, catering and drinks. At networking events, most people won’t know one another too well, so it’s important to lean on those other aspects to create a friendly, enjoyable atmosphere. No one will want to socialise in a cold, unwelcoming setting. As discussed earlier, choosing the right venue is an important step in this process: you want a location that suits your preferences and your attendees’ needs;  but also somewhere visually pleasing with plenty of versatility. For example, Armada House’s venue spaces offer Rako mood lighting to create the perfect ambiance; a stage and AV system for talks, a band, or other entertainers; and a fully-stocked bar with flexible tab options to keep the drinks flowing as much—or as little—as you’d like. We offer complete flexibility with furniture layout and with catering as you are free to choose from one of our preferred suppliers or to select your own. The venue combines unique historical ambiance with modern comforts to create the perfect space for any networking event.

Armada House Event Space

Follow Up

Following up post-event is just as crucial as everything that comes before and during. You want to ensure that your guests continue to feel welcome and able to contact you in future. An email to thank your guests for attending and letting them know of any upcoming events is the perfect way to keep communication open. It’s a good idea to send copies of any presentations or resources that were shared during the event, as some attendees will want the opportunity to review these at their leisure. Sending out a survey or feedback form about the event will also let attendees know that their opinions are valued and will be useful to you down the line if you plan more events. You’ll be able to easily see what worked, what your guests appreciated and enjoyed, and areas to improve so that your next event will be even more successful than the last.

Armada House Wallace Lounge

Hosting a successful networking event involves a lot more work than attending them, but with some forethought and effort, can be pulled off. Important factors to consider are your main goal, and with that comes an agenda that both you and your guests will find invaluable. Providing a suitable platform or venue and a welcoming atmosphere will do wonders to improve your event, while promoting it beforehand can help ensure a good turnout. Following up with your guests after the event will help you to maintain good relationships with them, which, after all, is the ultimate aim of networking.

Looking for that perfect networking venue?

Get in touch with us at Armada House – our team of experts can help you in planning your successful event!