Beyond the classic congresses and conferences that host networking activities, events to expand the network of contacts are taking a new direction. The more formal environments for creating business alliances open frontiers to promote business networking in other, more relaxed and informal contexts. Let’s talk about how to do business networking in environments that are as stimulating as they are innovative.
Networking activities: Ideas to enrich the network of professional contacts
Contrary to what one might believe, networking goes beyond relationships between individuals in formal and professional environments. Thus, board games, rooftop events, sports plans, and online platforms have become suggestive alternatives to promote business networking and entrepreneurship and expand the network of professional contacts.
Board games for networkers
In New York, home par excellence in the latest fashions and trends, the way to promote business networking would not be less innovative. For some months now, Wall Street has encouraged the expansion of the network of contacts through board games. But how can work connections be strengthened through play? The key is that the participants leave the protocol behind and show their skills on the board while social skills are reinforced.
Lawyers, bankers, and executives seem to have forgotten about golf and are now focusing on strategy board games. Perhaps they are responsible – at least partly because sales of these entertaining games were 7% higher in 2017 than in the previous year. Of the 1,100 million estimated by NPD Group, ‘Catan’ is the one that has sold the most: no less than 20 million people have opted to spend their free time devising strategies to build an empire on a fictional island.
The game’s theme can be perfectly extrapolated to the business world: the island would be the equivalent of the current market. The empire to be built would be similar to building a personal brand that conquers the largest number of customers. In fact, Reid Hoffman –founder of the social work network LinkedIn– defined Catan as “the board game of entrepreneurship.” Hence, the fun on the board also serves as one of the business networking activities that foster business relationships and the generation of contact networks.
Goodbye, business breakfasts
Until now, the most common formula for establishing professional networking relationships was attending business breakfasts at international congresses and conferences where the subject matter was linked to the interests and abilities of the attendees.
The trend has been changing for some time now, and there are frequent occasions when business networking activities are held in less formal settings. These rooftops and terraces are in emblematic places due to the beauty of the views that can be seen from their heights.
In Madrid, the Emperador de Gran Vía hotel has joined this trend and given up its roof terrace to hold networking events. With the largest indoor pool in the capital, this hotel has taken advantage of its space to hold business networking activities where professional contacts are fostered – one of the latest being the one carried out by WOMMs in April 2018.
Exploiting creativity, more and more frequently, hotels take advantage of their cocktail bars and rooftops to facilitate labor interconnection, stimulate the creation of a network of contacts and offer an ideal space to create networking strategies aligned to labor progress.
Sport, an allied activity for business networking
Practicing sports also favors business communication and business relationships. Soccer matches, gymkhanas, or even regattas are business networking activities that foster relationships between networkers.
Regarding the celebration of sports-type networking events, the initiative of Flavio Nappi stands out, a former student of ESCP Europe who 2008 organized the first regatta of his business school. In it, he brought together students and alumni in an act that companies and executives also attended. “The goal was to break barriers and do business networking spontaneously through sailing. Everyone has to collaborate on a ship, so establishing relationships is easier,” said the promoter.
Online networking: social networks to expand professional contacts
Let’s talk about how to network in more informal and avant-garde contexts. Social networks are postulated as one of the best options to unleash business networking activities. Companies, associations, and professional chambers tend increasingly to create groups on platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook, where they expand their online contacts network.
Online networking events such as tapas & tweets or beer & tweets probably sound familiar to you, where participants promote work networking and business communication in the company of good food and drinks at the table.
Professional networking in the digital ecosystem has become a particularly interesting option for strengthening professional communities at an international level and finding business opportunities in other parts of the world.