As host, it’s your responsibility to make guests at your networking event feel comfortable as quickly as possible. This should involve a few words to the group from you to kick the session off. Don’t be nervous, we’ve got a few tips that will help you ace the welcome speech at your next networking event:
Keep it Brief
The following should suffice:
- Introduce yourself (with first & last name)
- Warm welcome statement (lovely to see so many of you here today etc.)
- Thank them all for coming
- Offer some background to the event
- Go through the objectives of the session if appropriate
- Remind guests to keep circulating
- Thank them again
- Wish them a wonderful evening
Don’t Single Out Particular Guests.
Networking should feel like a level playing field with no attendees billed more important than others. It’s still possible to refer to people in general however without alienating your other guests (great to see so many new faces, we’ve got a wonderful mix of attendees this evening – accountants, marketers, operations… etc.)
Practice Makes Perfect
As well as practicing in front of the mirror it’s worth capturing your welcome speech on video too. This will allow you to look back and assess your speed of delivery, hand gestures and eye contact. Look out for noticeable word repetition too.
Control Your Stage Fright
Try and have a run through at the venue if possible to keep your nerves in check. Whist we’d recommend a more relaxed delivery versus learnt lines, if the thought of drying up makes you nervous use an acronym to help you remember the key points. Practice some controlled breathing just before show time and calm yourself by conjuring up the feeling of satisfaction and relief you’ll have when it’s done.
Most event organisers prefer to be backstage rather than on it. Nevertheless, don’t forget that your event is a networking opportunity for you too. Also, you’ve done a great job bringing all these people together and you deserve a moment in the spotlight.