How to Plan a Business Mixer

    The reasons for hosting a business mixer are many, and the drawbacks that can come from them are few. Who wouldn’t want to meet with their fellow business professionals? Find some new networking opportunities? Have a great time with some like-minded working folk? Have a great time with your own co-workers? Business mixers can be all this and more, so long as they are planned with care; though this is not typically as formal as a holiday party or fundraiser, hosting a mixer means putting your best foot forward to present yourself—and your company—in the best possible light.

    What is a Business Mixer?

    Business mixers—also known as networking events—are excellent opportunities to meet colleagues, develop business contacts, and build lasting relationships with a wide variety of professionals. However, even more important, business mixers are a great way for owners, leadership teams, and employees to attract and increase brand awareness.

    Tips for Hosting a Business Mixer or Networking Event

    1. Creating the Guest List

    If you look at that list of reasons for hosting a mixer, you’ll notice the bulk of them are goal-oriented. This is because a mixer is, first and foremost, a corporate event. It’s important to keep that in mind as you put together your guest list and send out your invitations. The spouses and kids should stay home for this one, but don’t be afraid to approach the influencers and heavy hitters in your industry. Mixers like these are your opportunity to show them your stuff, maybe even establish a working relationship, and energize your co-workers across the office with exciting new opportunities! To that end, make sure your guest list is a carefully planned, deliberate list, with all the right people to help you succeed.

    2. Finding the Right Location

    For as long as there have been parties and people to impress, there have been hosts scurrying around trying to be sure the venue looks perfect. Thankfully, a business mixer grants you the chance to rent the ideal space for your company’s honored guests (not to mention your employees won’t have to scramble to clean up their cubicles). However, there are still some basic requirements to bear in mind. Firstly, you’ll want to book an event space with an open floor plan; your guests will be doing their fair share of mingling, and you want to make it easy on them as they move from person to person. You’ll want to consider catering – most mixers at least require drinks and light snacks – and make sure your venue has space for a spread. Also, as everyone will be engrossed in conversation, you’ll want a space kept away from loud noises, like the roar of an airport or freeway.

    3. Keeping Guests Entertained

    Yes, the primary reason for a business mixer is to facilitate networking. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun! Hiring entertainment for your guests can spark up conversation, make your event more enjoyable (and therefore more memorable) and even entice people into attending! Stick to something most everyone will enjoy, like a musical act or stand-up comedian. Or, if you really want to keep the event work-oriented, hire a motivational speaker to get your guests amped up and ready to conquer the world. Also, make sure to have photographers around, snapping photos of your guests having a great time; these sorts of personal mementos can work wonders when it comes to follow up with contacts afterwards.

    Business Mixer Ideas

    Hosting your own business mixer or networking event doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here are a few awesome activities for your next mixer:

    • Karaoke
    • Scavenger Hunts
    • Photo Booth Fun
    • Contests
    • And more!

    What Not to Do at Mixer Events

    Here are a few things to avoid doing at business mixers:

    • Don’t use the event to give speeches or presentations. Remember, the purpose of a business mixer is to network.
    • Don’t wait until the last minute to plan and market your mixer or networking event. In fact, you should start at least 8 weeks prior to the mixer.
    • Don’t fill up the space with a bunch of chairs and tables; you want to keep people moving and mingling!

    Planning Your Own Business Mixer

    Now tell us: what sort of business mixers have you attended? Any that particularly impressed you? Any that you’ve had to host? Share your stories, and any tips and tricks you’ve got, in the comments below. And don’t forget to visit us on Facebook or Twitter for all the event planning info you need!

    Author: Nicole Catatao