How to Host a Brilliant Networking Event - Merlin Venues

How to Host a Brilliant Networking Event

27 November 2023

Creating the Perfect Atmosphere for Networking

The buzz at a well-hosted networking party is a magical thing and as an organiser, it’s one of the most rewarding events in which to be involved. There’s no better feeling than looking out over a room full of people, all making mutually beneficial connections and having stimulating conversations, knowing that you helped make it all happen.

However, on the flipside can you think of anything more deafening than the silence of a networking event that’s fallen flat on its face? The sight of guests awkwardly looking around a half-empty room and then tapping furiously into their phones, no doubt messaging a friend or colleague to see if anyone is free to rescue them from their current, painful predicament is a heart-wrenching scene.

But fear not. If you’ve been tasked with hosting a networking event, read through our top ten tips and you’ll have all the advice you need to hold a fabulous gathering – no tumbleweed in sight.

Choose the Right Venue

Selecting an appropriate venue is a pivotal first step. You will want to consider these factors:

  1. Location: The venue should be easily accessible, ideally with good public transport links.
  2. Wow Factor: Choosing a space with a ‘wow factor’ is also important. As well as making a great first impression on all your guests, the features which make your venue stand out, will act as fabulous talking points to get your invitees talking. Imagine hosting your event at a place like Merlin Venues’ London Dungeon, where the interactive theatre about London’s gruesome and grisly past creates more than just a few opportunities for conversation!
  3. Ambience: The venue’s atmosphere should align with the tone of your networking event.

Capacity and Timings

The number of attendees and the event’s duration are crucial elements to consider:

– Avoid venues too large for your expected turnout; an overly spacious venue can dampen the event’s intimacy.

– Opt for shorter, more focused events (e.g., 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM) to ensure that guests are more likely to interact with each other.

– Incorporate a ‘mustn’t miss’ moment, like a prize draw or a special guest speaker, to maintain high attendance throughout.

One thing to always remember is don’t be tempted to hire a space larger than you can fill – however much you love it. Guests rattling around at a networking event is never a good look.

Crafting the Guestlist

Any networking event is only as good as its guests. Without the right mix of people then those all-important connections simply can’t be made. If you’re not confident you’ve got this nailed, spend some time doing some research. It might also be worth speaking to some of your guests you know well as find out if there are any individuals or companies you could be targeting.

Pre-Event Introductions

To save everyone time on the night, consider making a few introductions before the event. That way some of your guests will be able to network with purpose and have questions or conversation topics ready to go. If making personal introductions isn’t possible, or appropriate, consider a page on one of your social media channels on which your guests can upload their information and, in the privacy of their own homes, research their fellow guests and prepare their plans for the night.

Help Break the Ice

Networking events can be intimidating, especially for guests attending alone. To foster a welcoming environment, consider these strategies:

Make introductions before the event: Guests will have conversation topics ready to go and a certain amount of familiarity with some of the people attending, if this isn’t possible consider a post on one of your social media channels on which your guests can upload their information and, in the privacy of their own homes, research their fellow guests and prepare their plans for the night.

Unique Settings: Selecting a venue with inherent talking points, such as Merlin Venues, can naturally stimulate conversations. Imagine your guests mingling among celebrity waxworks or discussing the antics of Dickensian characters.

Staff Assistance: If possible, have staff members mingle and engage with guests, especially those who seem to be on their own. This can help in creating a more inclusive atmosphere.

A successful Networking Event at Riverside Rooms

Immersive/Interactive Experiences

A good networking event needs to make an impact. It should get guests talking, not just to break the ice, but so that word spreads and you’re inundated for next year’s ticket sales. Some of the best and most memorable events are those which require a little bit of input from attendees, or at least take guests on a journey. At Merlin Venues, our portfolio of unique spaces offers experiences that range from rubbing shoulders with movie heroes (Movies at Madame Tussauds) to sipping cocktails with sharks (SEALIFE London Aquarium).

Entertainment and Atmosphere

For more traditional events, the inclusion of high-quality entertainment can significantly enhance the networking experience:

– Venue Atmosphere: A venue like the Riverside Rooms at County Hall, with its stunning wooden panelling and Thames views, provides an elegant backdrop.

– Curated Experiences: Collaborating with experts like Full Circle can help in creating an eclectic mix of performers, artists, and musicians, elevating the event’s ambience.

Food and Drink

The catering at your event plays a significant role in its success:

– Food: Beautifully presented dishes not only serve as conversation starters but also provide excellent photo opportunities for social media sharing. Offering a preview of the menu can entice potential attendees.

– Drink: While it’s not necessary to overspend on drinks, crafting unique cocktails and mocktails can add an extra layer of sophistication to your event.

Selection of Canapes being served at a Riverside Rooms Networking Event

Selection of Canapes being served at a Riverside Rooms Networking Event

Post-Event Follow-Up

Harness the goodwill of your event with posts on your social channels celebrating the success of your London business event. By encouraging a little bit of post-event engagement you’ll be helping cement your invitees’ new connections and starting the work of marketing next year’s event.

Your Next Networking Event

Find a unique London networking venue by giving the team here at Merlin Venues a call. Our collection of immersive spaces offers a range of experiences so you’re bound to find one that will suit your guestlist. You can reach us on 202 7487 0224 or on email via


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