What type of venues do you feel suit networking events with keynote speakers the best? Bars or Conference style venues?
I guess that would depend on anticipated numbers and what other activities you intend to deliver apart from keynote speakers. I know from experience that if you’re going to have keynote speakers, you want it at a venue that is comfortable for guests to move around but still be able to see and hear the speakers clearly otherwise in some cases you lose engagement.
Thank You Mill Darby for this it was really helpful! I am now thinking about what the other activities could be for a day networking event.
Put yourself in your attendee’s shoes - what do you think they will enjoy?
Review what you have done in the past and choose ones that had a positive response
Hi Derrick, the key to a good networking event is plenty of networking. Speakers that provide great content, useful for the attendees & some networking activities. As for a venue, anywhere that is comfortable & provides enough space. You can add character to the event with your venue using a unique place such as a castle or stately home. I recently ran a full day networking event that was really well received
Great point on having excellent speakers that provide great content. In my experience, if the speakers are good and the content is rich and useful, that provides a natural talking point to aid networking. People are usually keen to discuss their views and opinions on the sessions they attended - which is much easier than trying to find common ground just by networking. So, giving people something that they have in common to talk about can work really well!
So I think the point here is, what is more important the speaker or the networking? I run business events at a members club called Century which is perfect. We have about 80 attendees to see our speakers, then afterwards they are taken to a roof terrace where they can network.
The worst thing to do is compromise the quality of the talk, if that is the reason why people are attending. I have been to many speaking and networking events where people are forced to stand to watch a speaker. Sometimes these events are in bars which just have a reserved area, not even a function room.
So ideally, have two distinct areas, one for speaking, one for networking. It works much better this way!
Agree about having two distinct areas for the networking and the speaker session. I feel it gives more structure and purpose to an event, and as @Marino says, a great speaker creates a natural reason to converse with others after.
Thanks Matt, that really help as i’ve been to a few networking events and they have been in the same room. Like you said it has compromised the quality of the talk. That is definately something that I will look into for my next event. Thanks for all your help.
These tips have been very helpful indeed, as I was thinking of a networking event for my college assessment, I wasn’t sure if a speaker was necessary, but I can see after your comments that is it a good idea, would one be enough? I was also thinking of doing this event as an afternoon tea, is food a good idea or not necessary? or is cocktail style much better as everyone would be standing and free to walk around? If one room is hired could it still work if it was divided in 2 if the venue room is big enough? have seating for the speaker area and tables for the afternoon tea. Other networking activities were mentioned, what are your views on this, what make for good activities?
I would definitely say standing over seating. As you say, easy to move around and chat with more people. No reason why you can’t divide a room in two - we’ve done this at a 400 person event - stage and theatre style seating, with bar space and cocktail tables at the back
Thanks Nick, I’ll do just that. I’ve been looking around my capital city Adelaide, South Australia we have some great venues that offer break out rooms with the conference room being used, both great spaces, I’ll be checking all of what I’ve short listed to see what they are like in person. some of the balcony venues, I want to in particular check for street noise, so its not too loud for networking.