How to Grow your Chamber Membership (and Income) Through Business Networking Mixers. (Step by Step Guide)

Let’s face it: your chamber needs more members and income to be successful. One of the best ways to get both is through holding local business networking mixers. The Community Connection is here to help you get it done.

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10 Benefits of Business Networking

Here are ten quick reasons why business networking is right for your chamber:

  1. Opportunities
  2. Recruitment
  3. Building Confidence
  4. Connecting with Influencers
  5. Getting Motivated
  6. Solving Problems
  7. Raising Your Profile
  8. Staying Up-To-Date
  9. Strengthening Relationships
  10. Friendships

1. Choose Your Event Type

Here are 10 types of networking events that can help your members grow their connections. Each has their own suggested dress code attire and program format:

  1. Happy Hour Meetups
    • Dress Code: Casual
    • Program Format: Happy hour meetups are a casual type of networking event. Usually, the organizers of the event rent out a portion of a bar or restaurant for your group. During the happy hour, everyone is welcome to have a few drinks and appetizers while they converse with other professionals. Since this is a laid-back environment, it’s a low-stakes way to get to know other professionals on a personal level.
  2. Industry-Specific Seminars
    • Dress Code: Business Informal / Business Casual / Smart Casual
    • Program Format: During an industry-specific seminar, you can learn about different topics that are relevant to your field or industry. Many event organizers plan time before the seminar where you can converse with other professionals. Generally, there will be light snacks and refreshments to enjoy. During the seminar portion, an industry expert teaches the group about a topic. For example, if you’re going to a marketing-specific seminar, you may learn about topics like social media strategies, copywriting techniques or email marketing.
  3. Virtual Groups
    • Dress Code: Business Informal / Business Casual / Smart Casual
    • Program Format: There are many industries or job-specific virtual groups you can join for networking purposes. Many of them are on social media websites or online forums. The group may use email newsletters or Slack messages to inform members of different virtual networking events. A common type of virtual meetup is when an industry expert gives an online presentation through video conferencing. An event organizer may also hold a live Q&A where you can message or video chat with other professionals about specific questions you have.
  4. Career Fairs
    • Dress Code: Professional / Business Informal
    • Program Format: Career fairs are excellent networking events for people starting their careers. Many colleges and universities hold career fairs throughout the school year for students to attend. During this event, you can meet with representatives from multiple companies. It’s a chance for you to introduce yourself and ask a few questions about their company. Many employers with job openings have booths at career fairs, which is a great opportunity to give representatives your resume so they’re familiar with your name when you apply to a position.
  5. Conferences or Trade Shows
    • Dress Code: Business Informal / Business Casual / Smart Casual
    • Program Format: Many industries combine conferences and trade shows. Essentially, a trade show is when businesses within a particular industry can present their products and services. Trade shows usually take place at a large expo center where businesses set up company-sponsored booths. People interested in these products or services can talk to representatives at each booth or exhibition, which is a useful way for businesses and their clients to meet face-to-face. Some industries add a conference portion to the trade show. During this portion, guests can attend various seminars and keynote speeches that relate to the industry. Many of these presentations count toward continuing education hours. This kind of event also gives professionals a chance to gather in one place and connect with one another.
  6. Breakfast or Luncheon Meetings
    • Dress Code: Business Informal / Business Casual / Smart Casual
    • Program Format: At a breakfast or luncheon meeting, an event organizer prepares a meal for all attendees to enjoy while they get to know each other. The purpose of these meetings can vary. If you are a part of a group, you may meet to plan projects or discuss important subjects. Other times, the organizer may invite someone to speak at the event. During breakfast or luncheon meetings, you get to converse and connect with fellow professionals.
  7. Community Service Groups
    • Dress Code: Business Informal / Business Casual / Smart Casual
    • Program Format: Community service groups are where volunteers and donors can interact with one another. If you work for a nonprofit, you may attend an event like this to get to know the people who support your cause. Likewise, volunteering for this kind of event is a great way to meet community members and increase your network of contacts. It’s also a great way to give back to a good cause.
  8. Speed Networking
    • Dress Code: Business Informal / Business Casual / Smart Casual
    • Program Format: Speed networking is a way for professionals to rapidly make connections with other professionals. Like speed dating, you meet one-on-one with another professional for a set period of time. During this meeting, you can introduce yourself, ask a few questions and share contact information. Event organizers may even provide you with prompts of what to talk about. After the time is complete, you move on to another person. Many colleges also offer speed networking events where students can briefly meet one-on-one with industry professionals to get career advice and share their resumes.
  9. Workshops
    • Dress Code: Business Casual / Smart Casual
    • Program Format: Workshops are a chance to develop your skills while growing your network. Most workshops focus on a particular topic or skill. During a workshop, you may watch a presentation or do more interactive learning. For example, if you were to go to a team-building workshop, you may participate in different team-building activities. Likewise, a coding workshop could be a chance to work on your coding while getting hands-on help from another professional.
  10. Roundtable Discussions
    • Dress Code: Business Informal / Business Casual / Smart Casual
    • Program Format: Roundtable discussions are when a small group of people meets to discuss or debate a particular subject. It’s a great way to share your opinions and thoughts while learning other perspectives. The goal of roundtable discussions is to facilitate respectful conversations. While you are speaking, everyone is focused on what you’re saying. When it’s the next person’s turn, you direct your attention to them. There is often a potion for follow-up questions and closing remarks.

2. Set Registration Prices

  • Use The Community Connection’s Product Pricing Tool to take the guesswork out of making sure your registration fees cover the cost of your event. In general, you can expect to spend about $10 per attendee to cover the venue and 2 drinks per person.
  • Do you also want to pay a percentage of ticket sales to people who promote the event for you? Plug this number into the Calculator tab, and view your Profit Margin.
Sample Ticket for Event using the Product Pricing Tool

3. List Your Event Tickets For Sale

Use The Community Connection’s Vendor Dashboard to list and sell your event tickets.

  1. Log into your Vendor Dashboard
  2. Under Products, click Add New. (00:32 in video tutorial)
  3. Select the Ticket checkbox.
  4. Select Simple Product from the product type drop down menu.
  5. Enter the Product Title.
  6. Enter the Price and/or Sale Price of the ticket.
  7. Under the Ticket Fields tab, select the required fields as Yes. (26:55 in video tutorial)
  8. Under the Ticket Printing tab, select your desired options.
  9. Under the Ticket Emails tab, select your desired options.

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