From the sauna to childcare… 5 unusual ways to network

We all know what to expect from a standard networking event.

Presentations, awkward breaks, business cards galore. You’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, right? Not really.

It’s not surprising that some organisations are trying to shake things up a bit – Finland’s Diplomatic Sauna Society being one such example.

Of course, you don’t have to go naked to reinvent your networking habits. There are some more everyday yet out-of-the-ordinary methods you could try, whether you’re organising an event yourself or are simply looking for more opportunities to make connections…

Join a club

You might be looking to join a society, volunteer or learn a skill to help you unwind from your busy working life. Chances a lot of other people in your chosen club are high-powered professionals (i.e. potential contacts) looking for exactly the same thing. Bingo.

Go to the bar

Or more importantly, go to the right bar. Let’s face it, most of the conversation at networking events with a bar tend to take place there anyway, so why wait until the next event comes up? Do a bit of asking around in your area, find out where people from relevant industries tend to congregate, go with a buddy and get mingling after work.

Parenting duty

Of course, there is the tendency to talk only about children and parenting at sports clubs, baby groups and coffee mornings. But remember that the mums and dads attending are likely to have relevant career interests. They may be running a small business, or working from home and dealing with the everyday task of juggling work/family life, common ground on which you can make a lasting connection and offer mutual career support. So next time you’re doing the parent chat, why not find out a bit more about their job?

Speed networking

Inspired by speed dating (obviously), this is a fun approach, one which guarantees that everyone talks to everyone. Unlike speed dating, where you are trying to narrow down potential suitors, speed networking is all about getting as many as you can – and it also means getting good practise for making an elevator pitch. Check out the ukspeednetworking.com site for events near you and begin expanding your business network today.

Open mic

A business open mic night inviting companies to share their ideas, industry insights and start conversations on topics in a different way. Contributors can simply get up and talk, while others might pen witty songs or poetry, or present in the style of a stand-up comedian. It’s a more creative and relaxed approach that will easily get people talking for the night.

What networking opportunities have you found in unusual places?

Kayleigh is a freelance writer based in Ireland who has written numerous articles for Accounting Technician. She writes on workplace wellbeing and likes to tell inspiring stories about people in business. @Kayleigh_Ziolo

Kayleigh Ziolo is a freelance journalist and writer based in Ireland.

Related articles