Return of the Meetup: How to Get the Most Out of Networking Events

At the end of last month we were able to host our first in-person networking event in almost 2 years!

Focusing on Data Science and Machine Learning, it was a valuable evening filled with topical conversations and was full of people passionate about using data to combat the challenges of climate change.

In the past we have also hosted meetups discussing topics such as Diversity and Inclusion and tackling Unconscious Bias in the workplace. Following the success of last week’s meetup, we are excited to keep the momentum going.

Many of us have got used to attending these events behind the safety of a screen but as we creep back to normality, it is worth considering the benefits of getting out and meeting people face-to-face again.

After sitting down with our inhouse meetup expert, Jon, we have come up with some key pointers on why attending in-person networking events is important, how to find the right industry events for you, and how to go about setting up your own events.

Why is it important to attend networking events?

Whether you’re looking for your next tech role, or are a founder looking to grow your team, networking events are the perfect place to meet likeminded people within the community.

Building a team can be tricky when you can’t find the right people. Networking events are the perfect place to meet people who are passionate about tech.

Even if you’re not actively looking for a job or to grow your team, in-person networking allows for the little conversations to happen that don’t exist over zoom. These conversations can prove to be invaluable.

Likewise, these networking events are the perfect place to carry out a little research. For example, if you know you will be hiring a CTO at some point in the future, take this opportunity to go and ask questions to current CTO’s and find out what they look for in a job and factor this in to the role you will offer.

From keeping up to date with the latest tech trends to listening to the advice of industry experts, these events are the perfect opportunities to build long-lasting connections in the tech word.

How do you find the right industry events to attend?

So, you know you want to get out and meet people in the tech industry, but how do you go about finding the right events?

Luckily, in the age of the internet it has never been easier to connect with like-minded people. Websites like Meetup or Eventbrite allow you to access free or low-cost meetups from a range of industries.

Social media can be a great tool if you use it to your advantage. Look out on LinkedIn and Facebook for any groups that are hosting upcoming events.

There are many different styles of networking from casual lunch events to more structured ticketed events. Finding the style that works best for you is crucial to you getting the most out of your time.

The tech world is constantly changing, and it is important to keep on top of current trends. Your local recruiter will have a wide-ranging talent pool of industry experts, so it is always worth getting in touch to discuss any upcoming events.

What do you need to consider when setting up your own networking events?

Don’t enter in to hosting your own events lightly, there is a lot of work to be done and a lot to consider. If you feel unsure, it may be worth considering partnering with someone else- something we are always happy to chat about!

When it comes to planning, the first you need to establish is what you want to get out of your event. If you’re looking to connect with a very niche audience then you need to make this clear in your promotion of the event.

Decide on the format of your meetup. How relaxed or structured do you want it to be?

Here is a list of things that are important to consider:

  • What is your budget for the event?
  • Will you be selling tickets?
  • Where will you hold your event?
  • What time and day will your event take place?
  • Are you discussing relevant industry topics?
  • Do you need to invite guest speakers?
  • Will there be a hybrid option/ a recording of the event made?
  • Will you offer food or drink? (And will it be free?!)
  • How will you go about promoting your event?
  • How will you follow up to maximise the benefit?

Promoting your event is the most important factor in getting the right people to attend. Uploading the details online and sharing it with relevant people through social media is a great way of getting the word out.

Alternatively, if there are specific people you want to attend, send them a personalised invitation and chances are they will also know people who are passionate about the same topics. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth.

Networking doesn’t show results overnight, but if you stick with it, send follow up messages and keep the conversations going long after the events end, you will make valuable industry connections.

And if you play your cards right you may make a few new friends too!

We have a continually growing community of industry experts. If you want any further advice on how to set up your networking event, we are happy to help: 011742 80600

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