We are enjoying an age when people are passionate about what they do for work. At the very least we’ve acknowledged that this is an acceptable goal, especially in Seattle where the city is enjoying a tech industry boom. Major corporations are creating headquarters in Seattle and startups are popping up every day. It can be hard to wrap your mind around all of this as an individual and it can be even harder to make connections with other professionals in your field.
Enter the networking event. Networking events are a great way to meet, connect, and create contacts with other professionals who share your passion and drive. Whether you are a freelancer, a member of the corporate workforce, or a founder of your own business, there are a variety of events to match your skill set and needs.
There are countless great resources for the working professional looking to network in Seattle. One of those is ATLAS Workbase, a shared workspace centrally located between Lower Queen Anne and South Lake Union. Not only is a great place for small businesses, freelancers, remote workers, and startups to make their work-home, it’s also an amazing location for networking and events. So whether you’re looking for a place to host your own event, or seeking events for like-minded professionals, definitely give ATLAS Workbase a try.
In the meantime, here’s your one-stop shop for business networking events in Seattle. Learn about where to look, what to expect, and how to host an event. Give local business events a chance. You can learn a lot, find some new connections, and maybe even discover a dream job or potential business partner. No matter what, you’re sure to spend an evening with people who share your passion for your industry.
Types of Business Networking Events You Can Find in Seattle
It can be argued that any and all business events are networking events, but there are some that are strictly meant for networking. These would include career fairs and professional hiring events. They have one focus and that focus is to network and find potential employees/employers/freelance staff.
Mixers are more fun in the way that they focus on bonding with other professionals in your field. You’ll meet people you could potentially work with, be introduced to others, and create new friendships. These events typically include wine and beer and a selection of savory food. The staff at ATLAS Workbase strongly believes in the value of enjoyable networking and, as such, has monthly mixers for members and visitors.
Panels are great resources for the savvy business person. They typically have a few successful and relevant professionals featured. They have some time to talk, converse, and answer questions. It’s a great chance to learn and meet influential people in your field.
Events with One or More Speakers
These may be run like a combination of a mixer and a panel. A knowledgeable speaker will be given the opportunity to talk and/or give a presentation about a relevant topic, and then answer questions. There’s typically time to mingle and network with the other attendees. These can be valuable events with great information and opportunities to connect with other professionals.
Benefits of Networking Events in Seattle
Find business partners
Local networking events are always ripe with like-minded, eager, passionate, and hungry business people in similar fields, places in their careers, or professions to you. These events are a wonderful place to meet potential business partners who can share in the joys of starting, or pushing forward, a business. Brainstorming, out-of-the-box thinking, and brilliant new ideas are mainstays of networking.
Regardless of your experience level in business, there is always someone with more experience. Having a mentor to guide you and offer feedback based on their years in the business is always a good idea. And there’s no better place to meet the perfect mentor than a networking event. People who attend are looking to connect and share. It’s deeply satisfying to some professionals to spread their earned knowledge.
Find Skilled Freelancers
There are some resources online for freelancers to get their work out there. But since there are a lot of freelancers looking for work, it can be hard to land opportunities. Networking is a great way for freelancers to meet potential clients face-to-face and make an impression. Often, the client may not even know they need the skill-set that the freelancer is offering until they make an the actual connection.
It’s easier to make an impression face to face. Networking business events are a great way to connect with potential employees and put a face, voice, and personality to a resume. It’s not out of the question for impromptu interviews and handshakes to lead to job offers.
How to Host Your Own Seattle Business Networking Events
1. Give Yourself Time to Plan Your Event
There are several reasons to do this. First, it gives you first pick of spaces that will work for your projected guest list. It will give you plenty of time to plan, so you’re not stressing at the last minute. Finally, it will ensure that you make it onto the calendars of your guests, so you can attract the right attendees and avoid hearing “Sorry, sounds great! But I have other plans,” as much as possible.
If it’s your first event, don’t try to overdo it. Even if you give yourself plenty of time of plan, keep it manageable to learn, so you can ramp up effectively later.
2. Create a Meetup Page and Invite People to Join It
There are lots of platforms to create events, but Meetup (meetup.com) helps you create a community. It’s simple to find local events and folks who are interested in your events can join your group. Some groups have thousands of followers and some have only a few. It’s a great platform for networking and having a voice in the local business community. Some people even lead several local groups at a time.
Once you have roughly 100 people join your group, you can hold your first Meetup event. You can announce it on the website and email-blast your group members. You can also personally email each group member to invite them. A week before your event, be sure to send an email to remind the members.
3. You Hold the Power When it Comes to Location Selection
Find locations that want more business. If you are bringing the business to them and aren’t asking for special reserved space or any exclusivity, you should be able to secure a low price (or in some cases, even free).
Coworking spaces like ATLAS Workbase are a great place to plan events because they love to have guests and drive visitors.
4. Know Your RSVP and Attendance Ratio
Free events = 30% show-up rate (Unless it is the best event ever)
Paid events = 80% show-up rate (as price increases people become more likely to attend)
5. Make Sure You Have a Backup Plan
Things go wrong all the time, so make sure you have a backup plan in place for all contingencies. If you need one speaker for your event, make sure there is a second on deck in case the first cancels. If you think you’ll have 30 people at your event, make sure to provide enough food for 40 or 50. If you need a microphone, bring a second just in case something goes wrong. If you need a guitar, bring a backup guitar in case you break a string. Not everything is going to go like clockwork at your event, but you can save yourself some stress by planning for contingencies ahead of time.
Plus, consider how impressive you will look when your caterer gets a flat tire and you can shrug and say, “It’s all good, I planned for that.”
6. Build an Event List
When people arrive at your event, make a list of attendees and their contact info. Pass around your laptop with a Google Sheet. The sheet should have name, contact info, and just a bit about what you do and what your networking goals are.
As this list grows, so does your community. Learn the list and stay in contact with the other attendees. Offer return discounts and perks.
7. Build a Community
Your events are only as useful as the community they are built upon. When asked about their favorite business event and why, the most common answer is “It was all about the people I met.” Always try to provide as much value as possible to your network. Create a Facebook group to help people connect. Always try to introduce people in your network who can help each other.
8. Rinse, Repeat, and Don’t be Afraid to Ask For Help
Just like all skills, networking takes time and practice. It takes time to build a network of people who are passionate about what they do and it takes practice to connect the right people with others who can help them. Be patient, diligent, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
If you’re thinking of Hosting Your Seattle Business Event at ATLAS Workbase
ATLAS Workbase is the perfect choice for events big and small, with the track record to prove it.
The event space is chic and modern with many amenities for attendees, including unlimited sparkling water and coffee. It’s also fully customizable for your event. Friendly staff are on hand to respond quickly to questions and technical issues. State-of-the-art WiFi and audio/visual equipment are the cherry on top of the perfect event.
Previous events held at ATLAS Workbase
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Fundraising event
- Seattle Opera – Fundraising event
- Seattle Mayoral Debate – Arranged by the League of Women Voters and covered by King5 News
- Cofounders Connect – Networking event
- Hacker News – Meetup Group
- Young Professionals of Seattle – Local Panel
- Seattle Startup Week – A six day convention produced by Techstars Seattle
- Out and Equal LGBTQ Job Fair
What to Expect When you Attend a Networking Event in Seattle
Dress to impress, practice your confident smile in the mirror, take a deep breath, and expect to meet some great people. Resolve not to stand in a corner, but jump into the fray. People attend networking events to network and meet people. They want to get to know you. They want to know how they can help you. So be prepared to chat, listen, and learn. Take full advantage of the each event and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
What Makes a Great Seattle Business Event or Convention?
It’s all about the people. Seattle has a great community of meetups and networkers and it’s all at your fingertips. ATLAS Workbase is a very good place to start. Networking happens every day and weekly meetups and mixers will help you connect with other professionals at your ease.
The Resources You Need For Hosting Seattle Networking Events
Eventbrite A Simple and straightforward list of events that is easy to organize and keep track of.
I Love Seattle “Discover networking, community leadership, volunteer and civic engagement opportunities that match your professional, social and civic interests”
MeetUp: One of the most thorough resources for local networking events in Seattle.
Young Professionals of Seattle – “The Largest Community of Young Professionals on the West Coast”
ATLAS Workbase – Your choice for Networking Business Event location in Seattle.