While the world seems to be living in greater polarization by the day, the one consistent thing that seems to be able to bring people back together is food. It’s essential to life and it has the ability to bring out the commonalities in everyone. This ubiquitous attraction sets the perfect stage for gatherings. Local restaurants and bars are a reliable choice for networking events and will serve as the ultimate in hospitality for your guests. When choosing the best local flair as the backdrop for your event, peruse the following helpful guidelines:
Proximity of Location
Good attendance is crucial to the success of your event and if the location is too far in distance for many of your guests, the turnout could be lackluster. You also want the destination to be easily accessible, meaning you don’t want guests repetitively driving around the block to find a place to park. If it’s located in a large city, make sure that it’s close to public transportation, and for those that will be driving, a nearby garage or parking lot for convenience. If your event is too much effort to get to, guests won’t find it worth the hassle.
In order to choose an appropriate event spot, you need to know approximately how many people you need to accommodate for. It needs to be spacious enough so your guests can move around with ease. No one wants to feel claustrophobic in a roomful packed with strangers. Does the restaurant or bar offer private dining spaces? What types of policies does the business have regarding capacity? Since most networking events are “come as you go”, most places should be able to handle the influx of guests coming and going.
Meets Your Expectations
The biggest mistake you could make is choosing a location that you have never experienced in person. Don’t choose a place based solely on recommendations, scout it out for yourself. Does it meet your preconceived expectations, such as:
- Ambiance- does it create the mood you are aiming for? Does it give the correct vibes?
- Staff- Are they friendly and accommodating?
- Seating- Is it ample and comfortable?
- Noise Level- Will the noise level make conversation difficult? Does it feel deserted and dull?
- Lighting- Does the room offer a good balance of light and dark?
- Food- Always sample the offerings of an establishment before picking it. The food might sound appetizing but would be a foodie’s worst nightmare.
Establishments want your business and are usually more than happy to offer a group discount. It benefits them to have local professionals bring in important clientele, like local ambassadors who are great for business. It’s even more rewarding for them if you intend on sharing your event on social media. Regardless of discount, always consider whether the price will be a deterrent; while an upscale place can give the indication that you feel your guests are posh, a cheap restaurant could imply the opposite. The best option is to find a balance between the two if you feel that an upscale venue would be too imposing.
Keep it Simple
Make it easy for guests to register and remember your event by using a registration app, such as Eventbrite or Event Smart. Pre-registration gives you a good idea of who and how many people will be attending and sends out reminders. The easier you can make it for yourself and your guests, the better time everyone will have.
The Right Ingredient
Best-selling author and entrepreneur, Keith Ferrazzi, explained that the motivation behind networking must not be selfish, concluding that “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” A fulsome helping of generosity can make your events flourish and give you some serious credibility among other business professionals. People love to talk about their experiences, and those rooted not in posturing, but in sincerity, will give you the best exposure for the right reasons.