People frequently ask me to explain why I promote the idea of organising networking events through art and culture.
When I was a practising lawyer, I was often looking for business development opportunities. I attended many conferences, talks, seminars, and receptions which consisted in exchanging a few words here and there and distributing business cards. The networking experience was often boring. It was unusual to have the opportunity to speak about non-professional matters and to create any genuine relationships.
It was precisely when I started to organize artistic events as a mere hobby and later on professionally for an international networking organization, that I realized that real business networking was not often found in obvious business-oriented environments. By meeting in creative venues outside of the office, participants were inspired and passionate about a particular talk, concert or exhibition. In this neutral and stimulating environment, it became easier to create true relationships that could lead to new opportunities. It is much easier to pick up your phone the next day and start talking business when you have shared a great experience with someone. That’s how I realized that art could provide the perfect backdrop for developing relationships and ideas.
Below are my FIVE networking tips:
1. GIVE PRIORITY TO FACE-TO-FACE NETWORKING. In a world where business interactions are often taking place through digital means, it is becoming increasingly important to participate in events where you can meet clients and prospects and build genuine relationships.
2. SELECT INTIMATE EVENTS WITH ADDED VALUE. An intimate event with a small group (12 to 20) is always a better environment to make valuable contacts, particularly when the subject matter is carefully selected and the event is professionally managed by like-minded individuals.
3. RELY ON A STRONG FACILITATOR: an expert who has the knowledge and talent of bringing people who have something in common together. This person will do the job of introducing people to each other and these introductions will immediately trigger conversations between the newly introduced people.
4. TRY TO GET TO KNOW THE PERSON NEXT TO YOU. Be spontaneous and open-minded. Let him or her discover your interests and try to see if you have any common point of interest.
5. ENJOY NETWORKING THROUGH NEW EXPERIENCES. It should be fun to meet new people in a relaxed and enriching atmosphere. London is a great place for networking with a diversity of people from different professional backgrounds and nationalities. These opportunities cannot be missed.