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Networking events that really work

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Sharon Hammond, Marketing Coordinator at UK200Group member firm Roffe Swayne, discusses the best way to get results from networking.

I am sure you will agree that networking events are one of the best ways to make and build upon relationships within your professional network.

However, formal networking events aren’t everyone’s cup of tea; some people can work the room with ease, whilst others find the task quite daunting.

Our team gains a lot of value from building relationships in a more relaxed networking environment rather than the more formal event. Also, by giving the event a fun aspect there are often more willing attendees.

Part of our firm’s annual events calendar is a private shopping evening at an upmarket fashion store. Held twice a year for our professional contacts, it really has gained momentum over time with guests looking forward to receiving their invitations. They will happily juggle their diaries so they are able to attend - you really can’t ask for more.

Sports themed networking events are another favourite. We are fortunate to have space in the office for badminton courts and table tennis tables and regularly host sports evenings with our professional contacts. The table tennis tables get regular use at lunchtimes so we have no problem persuading the team to join a networking event. This style is especially great for those new to networking, there is no pressure on them to ‘network’, but by the very nature of the style of these events they are doing just that!

If there is a shared interest as mentioned above, be it a sports theme or a touch of retail therapy, the atmosphere is more relaxed, conversation flows much more easily and guests are more likely to stay longer (and with far less no-shows) than a more formal networking event. This allows more opportunity for us to chat with each of our guests and really get to know them.

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