You have probably been to many work functions and networking events which have been disorganised, there is no speaker and not even one free drink. There are only so many bad networking events you can take before you think “I can do this better”. It may be difficult to start up a group, but here are just a few ways to get you on your way:
1) Find an interesting topic
Make sure you research what else is out there, You want people to come to your events because it is different, because people find your event interesting. There is no point setting up a networking event if you are just going to be competing with other meetups that are more interesting than your own.
2) Become an organiser of meetup
Meetup.com is the world’s largest network of local groups (according to their site). It means that if you want to start group in something that you are interested in then you can do so on meetup.com knowing that the site attracts thousands of visitors a day. You will not have to do any promoting as being on meetup.com is a promotion in itself.
3) Attract a Sponsor
It is best if you can get a sponsor for some of your events. It may not always be possible, but try and get one for the main events you are hosting. For example If your event is about mobile technology or optimising your site for mobile, you may want to team up with one of the mobile providers such as Verizon to sponsor the event. It is a sure way of attracting more people to your event. Everyone loves something for free and one of the cheapest “free” things is drink.
4) Secure a Venue
It is important the venue for your event is centrally located so people can easily locate it and arrive in good time. If your venue is on the outskirts of town, people will be put off by the distance and will not come to your event.
5) Introduce Yourself
When people arrive at your event, greet them, tell them who you are, that you are the organiser. Now is not a time to be shy, people will appreciate you telling them about the line up of the event, the direction to the free bar or food area. Remember to have enough business cards printed for everyone. It is important to give a business card at the end of the event or when speaking to fellow attendees.
If you really want to run your own meetup group or networking event, do not spend hours deliberating, just start it as soon as you know you have an interest for the group. For those in Victoria, there are many printing services in Melbourne who can help you market your networking event.