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The next big trend: Alternative networking

16/06/2017

When you think of networking, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? A large room full of suited business people shuffling from one to another and exchanging business cards? In the past, this used to be the norm – the traditional way of networking, however millennials are bucking the trend.

Silhouettes of dancers moving in confetti

No longer is a networking constricted to after work mixers, talking shop over a glass of warm white wine, millennials are looking for alternative ways to network. Latching onto the wellbeing trend, networking events based around activities such as yoga, mindfulness and health are increasing in popularity. People are looking to make deeper connections in networking than a standard card swap, as business becomes more collaborative than ever before. Dell EMC and GirlCrew recently hit the headlines with its new women entrepreneur supper club, providing an open forum for like-minded businesses women to share strategy and advice in the startup space.

No doubt we have all been in the situation where networking at large exhibitions, trying to get through the crowds to make connections with people of interest. However, exhibitions are now looking at alternative ways to connect attendees and an example of this is Dent – a leadership conference. The organisers of Dent put exhibition attendees into groups of 25 based on their business and interests, organising different networking dinners based on these groups. Summit takes alternative networking to the extreme by organising and offsite experience – such as weekend retreats in Power Mountain, Utah – where like-minded business professionals can connect.

Here at Cherish we had our first alternative networking experience by attending a morning tech rave run by Rainmaking Loft, a co-working space in London for startups, to celebrate London Tech Week. The Cherish team were up early doors, feeling fresh and looking super-bright in luminous rave gear and ready to hit the dancefloor. With a DJ doing a house music set, UV lights and enough glitter for all of Glastonbury, the event had a simple approach. Grab some breakfast (healthy smoothies), grab some UV accessories (glo-sticks galore) and hit the dancefloor. Amongst the crowd were product developers, creative illustrators and tech industry professionals. There was even a team from nearby Fitness First running a rave workout, making sure we were all energised for the day ahead!

These type of events encourage business professionals to network within their own comfort zones, have an authentic conversation and make connections with those who have a similar interest. Whilst wellbeing led networking events might still be in its infancy stage, there is no doubt this trend will continue to grow and diversify.

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