Saturday, January 07, 2006

Social Gatherings for Formal Groups

One thing that I always find interesting is that formal networking groups that meet regularly sometimes have issues getting the group to meet socially.

Just the other night my BNI group got together for a cocktail hour - and we usually meet at 7am - so a 5pm gathering was unusual and out of the ordinary - and just a little scary for an introvert like me not generally comfortable getting together in that kind of environment.

I was surprised that the event was well attended - about half the members showed up, even if for a little while to have a glass of wine and a bite to eat - and some great networking was done!

So it got me thinking... why was this successful and other times it has not been... One reason is location. The event was at the same place we have our regular meetings. No one could say they didn't know where it was. That location is centrally located - and that helped too. I heard several people coment that it was "on the way home." Another reason for the good turn out was the group president's reminders and emails. No one could forget.

But the number one reason is that it is a great group of people who have made it a habit, and part of their daily lives to support eachother. It is now natural to WANT to ge together and relax, chat and network. That is the sign of a healthy networking group.

And for me - the introvert... well this is a group of people that are now friends. And hanging out with friends is always a good thing.

1 comment:

Sinnary said...

The social side of networking is very important. My networking groups meet and we split our meeting into 2 sessions - one that is formal and with a meal (lunch or breakfast), then the 2nd hour we have a golf lesson together at the practice range. It allows us to have the structure needed to learn about each other's businesses and how we can refer prospects to each other, while we're participating in a fun, healthy activity that promotes relationship building.