8 Tips for Throwing a Successful Business Mixer

Establishing a word-of-mouth, referral-based business sometimes requires getting people to come to “your cave” to learn more about your products and services.  Throwing a business mixer is a great way to do this yet, I’ll admit, throwing a successful business mixer isn’t easy.

However, if you remember that your primary purpose is to facilitate networking, you’ll be okay.  Here are eight tips that will help you host an effective,  successful business mixer:

  • If you have a large enough office, throw a business mixer there to get exposure for your business.
  • Plan the mixer no less than eight weeks in advance.  Invite many guests and get people to donate door prizes.
  • Allow all to bring information on their products or services.  Have one or more large tables set aside with a sign for this purpose.
  • Designate several “Visitor Hosts” to greet the guests as they arrive.  When people start to arrive, make sure all fill out their name tags properly.  Have few chairs available.
  • Conduct a short networking exercise, such as having each guest meet three people he hasn’t met before or having everyone find someone in a similar business and ask one another what their most effective networking tactics/efforts have been.
  • There are many innovative things you can do to make a mixer both fun and successful, such as have a “Meet Your (Business) Match” mixer with designated areas for specific business professions such as finance, real estate, health care, etc.  Or, have everyone pick a card with the name of one half of a famous duo out of a hat.  Then, each person keeps meeting people until he or she runs into his or her “partner.”
  • Always remember what’s mentioned in the intro to this blog: your primary purpose is to facilitate networking and if you focus on that and don’t try to distract from that purpose by dominating the event with speeches or presentations, you’ll be on track for mixer success.
  • At the end of the mixer, spend no more than about ten minutes doing introductions and giving door prizes.

If you’ve hosted networking mixers before and have some additional tips to offer or if you have interesting stories to tell about your experience with hosting a mixer, please share your thoughts in the comments section so we can all learn from what you have to say. Thanks!

10 thoughts on “8 Tips for Throwing a Successful Business Mixer

  1. Arrive early to set up (there will always be early birds) and make sure yoiu have sufficent help to clean up afterward. Remember stick on name badges! Plenty of trash cans are needed- I’ve been to many mixers where this is forgotten. Plenty of food and drink and lots of door prizes are necessary for a succesful event also. Invite everybody (no ostracizing) and have fun! And, one last thing that I’ve seen WAY too much and am often asked about- no music! The “music” is all the people networking- that’s the buzz you want in the room!

    Shawn McCarthy

  2. It works very well. This is my fifth. It has a good following too. You are invited!

    BNI Member & Guest Mixer! #5
    It will be a good time to meet other chapter BNI people like yourself and exchange business cards with new people and services your chapter may not have. The last inter-chapter mixer had 39 businesses with a large exchange of leads. Everybody was very happy and I expect this one will be bigger. And it’s FREE too!

    DATE: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
    PLACE: Jimis Banquet Facilities, 714 S. Washington, RO, 48067
    TIME: 6 PM to 9 PM

    6 PM to 7 PM Cash Dinner and Bar
    7:15 PM Introductions (15 Seconds)
    8:00 PM Cross Chapter Mixer

    Please RSVP by October 16, 2012. Space and waitress staff is limited.
    ken@knr.net or 248-557-8276 Ken is VP of BNI Fusion RO

  3. What a great article and it translates very well here over the water. I am preparing my first ‘mixer’ event so this comes at a great time. All UK businesses welcome though booking essential! Friday 5th October 6.30am to 9am. The Old Whitgiftian Association, Croham Manor Road, Croydon CR2 7BG. Email me for an invite: shabbir@bniselondon.co.uk.

  4. I have been to business mixers where elaborate events were planned and others where no events were planned. The answer in my case was easy. After paying for the guests’ first drink on a peanut-butter budget, there was no entertainment budget left.

  5. Great post Im planning for an event now and researching activities to do, a good one I found is remember the pitch, attendees get the business card of another attendee when the enter, through out the night they find their person and hear their elevator pitch when it’s time for introductions they repeat the pitch they heard

  6. Start of with playing with an ice breaker. We humans have different personalities. The extroverts, the introverts. What we can do in the business mixer is to engage, get all extroverts and introverts to participate. Perhaps have a theme so that everyone knows that there is a common or something to follow. Letting them know the direction of the business mixer is also a good so that people will look forward for future mixers. A host should be someone friendly, down to earth, always smiling and welcoming. Letting them feel the sense of belonging is also important.

  7. Great collection of tips, there’s a local Chicago meetup group that does business mixers like this. I think one of the best ice breakers is when they have everyone do a quick elevator pitch about who they are, no longer than 15 seconds. Just rapid fire very quickly, it breaks the ice and loosens people up. Oh yeah, also helps to have your mixer at a bar.

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