How to Plan an Evening Business Mixer

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Evening business mixers provide a convenient way to engage with current and potential customers. Your city's Chamber of Commerce or another business group coordinates and promotes these mixers, hosted members host at their places of business. Besides creating an inviting networking environment, a well-planned mixer includes methods for members to showcase their businesses.

Finding the Right Location

Although multiple members might step up to host a business mixer, matching the location to the expected turnout is key to a successful event. For example, during the spring, a spacious waterfront restaurant provides an ideal venue for an outdoor barbecue event expected to draw 150 or more attendees. On the other hand, a financial-services business might have plenty of mingling room for an expected turnout of 40 to 50 business owners and professionals.

Mixer Structure Provides Variety

While all business mixers provide networking opportunities, many also feature value-added segments that help members promote their businesses. For example, attendees may briefly describe their businesses in front of everyone at a Chamber mixer. At another mixer, organizers might shine the spotlight on new members, introducing them to a roomful of potential customers. Members who donate a door prize usually receive special mention. Organizers invite the hosting member to present a longer pitch about an aspect of her business. Most mixers feature a business-card and promotional-materials table in a prominent spot.

Right Refreshments Are Necessary

Each hosting member makes his own refreshment choices, with some business owners opting for a “do it yourself” approach and others contracting with a catering company. Hosts generally serve easy-to-handle finger foods and appetizers along with nonalcoholic beverages. Other hosting members might include beer and/or wine. If you match the quantity of refreshments and attendees, everyone will have sufficient snacks and drinks for the entire evening.

Promotion Gets the Word Out

Chamber staff generally promote evening business mixers in the organization's print and/or electronic newsletter. Staff members often send out an extra e-mail blast that reminds members of the upcoming event; and the event likely appears on the Chamber website. Sending a brief description of the event to local newspapers frequently leads to additional coverage and attracts curious member prospects eager to check out the group.