Networking in Style: How to Host in Your Space

Networking isn’t just a skill; it’s a vital tool, especially for those early in their careers. Whether you’re aiming to secure your next internship, seeking mentorship, or eyeing potential job opportunities, the connections you make today can significantly impact your professional journey.

But networking doesn’t have to be intimidating or confined to stuffy conference rooms. Hosting a networking event in your own space can be a game-changer, allowing you to showcase your personality, interests, and hospitality while forging meaningful connections. Here’s how to host a successful networking event right at home.

What is a Mixer Event?

Mixers are social gatherings that encourage relationship-building among professionals. Unlike formal conferences or seminars, mixers typically have a more relaxed atmosphere, allowing attendees to engage in conversation and make connections in a less formal setting.

How to Host a Social Mixer In Your Home

While attending networking events hosted by others can be beneficial, there’s immense value in taking the initiative to host your own networking event. Learn how to host a social mixer in your space with these networking tips for interns and early career professionals.

1. Decide what type of social mixer you want to host.

Before diving into the logistics of hosting a business mixer, determine what type of event best aligns with your goals and preferences. There are tons of fun networking event ideas to choose from, ranging from casual meetups to structured industry-specific gatherings. Consider how formal or informal you’d like your event to be.

  • Keep It Business Casual: A more informal gathering held in a relaxed setting, such as a cozy living room or backyard. These events allow guests to mingle freely and engage in organic conversations.
  • Themed Mixer: Whether it’s a game night, movie screening, holiday event, or potluck dinner, a themed mixer adds a fun twist to networking and helps break the ice. Choose a theme that resonates with your industry or interests.
  • Structured Business Mixer: A more formal event with designated networking activities, such as speed networking, skill sharing, or group discussions on industry-related topics.
  • Alumni Mixer: If you’ve moved away from home or away from your college, an alumni networking event can be a great way to connect with others in the area who graduated from the same university. These allow guests to connect over shared interests and background, even if they work in different industries.

Each event type has its own advantages. Casual meet and greets encourage attendees to connect on a personal level. Themed parties add elements of creativity and excitement, and structured business mixers allow for targeted professional conversations. Selecting the right type of event sets the tone for the gathering and ensures that it resonates with your guests, goals, interests, and expectations.

2. Prepare a Guest List

Now that you’ve decided which type of event you’re hosting, it’s time to prepare a guest list and send out the invitations. Be sure to provide clear details about the event, including the date, time, location, and any specific instructions or themes.

When sending out invitations, encourage guests to RSVP so you can better gauge attendance and plan accordingly. And don’t forget to send out reminders or confirmations closer to the event date.

2. Plan Your Refreshments

A well-stocked refreshment station can serve as a focal point for casual conversations and professional networking opportunities. To keep guests fueled and comfortable during the event, stock up on drinks and snacks beforehand. Provide a selection of appetizers and finger foods for easy snacking and offer a varied mix of beverages to cater to different preferences. And if you’re doing a themed event, make sure the refreshments align (i.e., don’t forget the tacos for your “Tech Talk and Tacos” event).

3. Stock Up on Amenities

Anticipate the needs of your guests ahead of the event by ensuring that you have essential amenities in place. Stock bathrooms with toiletries such as hand soap, hand towels, and extra toilet paper. Provide a designated area for coats and bags. Make sure you have more than enough utensils and plates for refreshments, and ensure there are plenty of bins for guests to dispose of waste.

4. Arrange Your Space

Creating a welcoming atmosphere is essential for hosting a successful networking event in your space. Begin by decluttering and tidying up to create an inviting environment. Consider adding personal touches such as fresh flowers, diffusers, ambient lighting, and comfortable seating arrangements. A few other factors you may want to consider include:

  • Ambiance: Set the stage with soft lighting and background music to create a welcoming atmosphere. Choose music that is upbeat yet unobtrusive to encourage conversation.
  • Flow: A clutter-free space is essential for creating a positive first impression. Ensure there’s enough space for guests to move around comfortably without feeling cramped.
  • Seating: Arrange chairs and couches in clusters to encourage small group discussions. If possible, include a few standing tables for guests who prefer to mingle while on their feet.
  • Furniture: Does your space need a little help in the stylistic, a ‘real adult’ lives here department? With CORT, you can easily rent tables, chairs, and other essential furniture pieces to create a cohesive and professional setting for your event.
  • Accessibility: Remove any physical barriers or obstacles that may impede accessibility, and provide alternative seating options for guests who may require them.

How to Navigate the Business Mixer Successfully

Now that your space is set up and ready, it’s time for the mixer. Roll out the welcome mat, pour some drinks, and get ready to network like a pro!

  • Greet Your Guests: Welcome guests warmly as they arrive to break the ice and make them feel at ease during your event.
  • Offer Name Tags: Help guests break the ice by providing name tags that showcase their names and professions. Use adhesive options or provide markers and blank stickers for guests to create their own.
  • Be a Connector: Identify common interests or professions among attendees and introduce them to each other accordingly. Introducing guests to one another based on similarities can help facilitate meaningful connections while positioning you as a valuable asset.
  • Stay Engaged: Be present and actively participate in conversations throughout the event. Listen attentively to what others have to say and ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation flowing. People appreciate good listeners, and you’re likely to learn something new or insightful — potentially to your career’s benefit.

After the event, send personalized thank-you emails or messages to attendees expressing your appreciation for their participation. Follow up on any promising connections by scheduling coffee dates or expressing your interest in staying in touch.

Network in Style with CORT Rental

Networking is a critical part of forming professional relationships. When you’re ready to furnish your apartment in a professional, adult way, turn to CORT Furniture Rental.

Renting furniture from CORT can be an excellent way to furnish your home and make it the perfect hosting location. With flexible, customizable packages and timeless furniture, CORT is a simple way to furnish your space to fit your needs. Visit your local CORT showroom in person or online to get started. Once you build a package, simply set a delivery date and we’ll take care of the heavy lifting. Then, when you’re ready to move on, we’ll pick up your furniture as well. Get started today!

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