Thursday, July 12, 2007

The World's Smallest Ever Networking Event

How many people constitute a 'networking event'?

That's the question I was asking myself after attending the world's smallest ever event tonight. With only two of us present, surely that's a record that can't be beaten?

The event, an intimate monthly dinner with normally around 12 people present, was hit by low registrations because of the time of year and a number of cancellations on the day. Even the event host gave up when no-one had turned up twenty minutes after the start time.

As he left, little did he know that I was turning up, worried that I was twenty minutes late as my meeting had overrun. Naturally I was a bit concerned when I was seated in the restaurant...on my own. Never mind, I ordered a beer and munched on olives, sure that I had got the times wrong and everyone would turn up in a few minutes.

Twenty five minutes later I was a lot more concerned. I had busied myself with the menu, having experienced the food in this restaurant before I definately wasn't leaving now, and figured it had become 'dinner for the sad man on the big table in the corner'. But then another latecomer came down the stairs, looking equally confused and joined me.

When I was involved BRE I was often frustrated that people's first question on being invited to attend a networking event was 'how many people will be there?'. There seemed to me to be too strong a focus on quantity over quality. I always believed that this is a very misguided approach, having been to many good events with few people and an equal number of well attended disasters.

As it was, Julian and I had an excellent meeting, finding out a lot about each other's business, discussing people we both know and our attitudes and experiences of networking. We had both heard of each other before but never met.

We were able to discuss things in a lot more depth than we would have done ordinarily and there are good chances that we will be able to develop our relationship further and hopefully, in time, introduce some very valuable contacts to each other.

So how many people do you need to attend to create a networking event? As tonight proved, in the right circumstances two can be company enough.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, and also as promised I posted in your group ...and death came Third!. Networking and Speaking in Public. A little gem from a 2004 meeting... I wonder how many others have experienced "bad events"

    good fun tonight

    Regards Julian