Sunday 22 April 2018

Friday Five: Hosting an International Networking Party in Your City

Why it matters by Natalie Batlle Katherine Smitten

Last month, Edelman Barcelona threw a Living in Color-inspired networking event in order to meet new professionals and increase visibility for the office. To do so, the team partnered with InterNations, the No. 1 online community for internationals and expatriates worldwide, with more than 600,000 members across 300 cities. Here are five tips on how to organize a meaningful networking party in your community.

1. Team Up with Local Communities Businesses

By pairing with InterNations, Edelman gained exposure to more than 8,000 Barcelona members, most of whom are professionals aged between 25-45, including entrepreneurs and representatives from multinationals and local businesses. For InterNations, working with an international PR firm earned them press coverage, including an article in Barcelona Metropolitan and a chance to meet Edelman employees and clients from across the agency’s network. Edelman was also selective in the venue because choosing the city’s sharpest location would garner the best turnout. Look for vibrant communities in your city, and think about how joining forces could help your office form meaningful business relationships.

2. Make It a Themed Party

Edelman Barcelona went with Edelman´s own Living in Color mantra. The theme was introduced by creating a survey for the event invite, asking guests to identify with a color based on their passions outside of work; color groups included red for arts and yellow for travel. Inside, guests were greeted by friendly Edelman faces, received their colored sticker, and slipped their business card into the corresponding categories for a chance to win raffle prizes. It served as a nice icebreaker and made the event festive; there was even a special Living in Color cocktail. The theme was catchy, creating a lasting memory for the Edelman brand long after the party ended.

3. Don’t Do It Alone

The entire Edelman Barcelona office was involved in the occasion and utilizing the team´s many talents was essential to the event´s success. For the raffle the team contacted local restaurants and businesses who donated gift certificates, such as Gran Foc, which in return earned them publicity. Additionally, employees looked to their personal networks to make the event as affordable as possible. Reach out to friends, contacts and acquaintances that have specialties like DJing, photography and cinematography. These contacts will help the event become a success.

4. Go Digital

Activating a digital presence made the event reach a broader audience and encouraged conversation. For example, Edelman created a Facebook album and invited InterNations members to tag themselves. A highlight of the evening was the social video Edelman filmed on location, featuring interviews with InterNations members, ambassadors and Edelman colleagues. We asked a range of questions including “What does networking mean to you?” and “How do you Live in Color?” Guests enjoyed the special detail, and Edelman’s film crew created a mini-studio space unique to the usual networking affair.

5. Follow-Up

Don’t let all the business cards that were collected go to waste. Edelman wanted to know what attendees thought of the evening and, of course, invited everyone to learn more about the Edelman team. The conversation was continued by sending notes and pictures to people met at the event, and by linking the video digitally and via InterNation´s monthly newsletter.

With employees representing 10 countries and various languages, having a multicultural office in a culturally rich community like Barcelona is something that Edelman truly values; Living in Color was the perfect opportunity to showcase our diversity. What makes your office unique and how can you promote it at your next networking event?

Image courtesy of BigStock.

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