Part two of this series will look at why social connections are good for us, why B2B networking events are great for business and how to get the most out of networking events – from learning to listen and how to run a networking event 😁
It is for individuals who organise and attend events such as these.
My only fear with the sequel to this long-awaited, and final part, of this blog series is that it’s as disappointing as the Game of Thrones finale.
On that note, it’s worth pointing out that I’m proud of myself that I haven’t watched it. I get to act all smug and hipster-like, pretending I was too cool to spend my evening’s eyes deep in GoT. Truth is, I cancelled all my TV subscriptions so I can do interesting things like wine tasting courses from Udemy with the masterful Jancis Robinson, the UK’s most famous Master of Wine.
Part one of this series really highlighted the value of building strong social connections including how it can increase your time here on earth, how it supports business growth and feeds the economy, and how it enables us to grow as individuals. Plus, it has some bang-on quotes from previous winners of our famous Chief Wine Officer competition, namely Mark Twain and Bill Nye the Science Guy.*
*This is factually incorrect
Part Two will offer more insight into the strength of social connections but also, will give you some tips and recommendations on how to maximise social occasions.
Increasing the size of your social circle means you get to learn about things that you knew nothing about.
Like a schmiss.
A schmiss is a dueling scar which has been seen as a “badge of honour” among fencers since as early as 1825. Also known as “the bragging scar”, “smite”, “Schmitte”, duelling scars were popular amongst upper-class Austrians and Germans involved in academic fencing at the start of the 20th century.
I learnt about this interesting fact from a Master of Wine at a previous CWO event. She had read about these duelling scars whilst writing about wines in Germany.
The schmiss sparked much conversation and debate between the gentleman who displayed this badge of honour on his chin and the other guests. It also opened the floodgates for much nostalgia and personal stories from strangers that had just met. Hands were shaken, business cards were exchanged, and seeds of new relationships were planted (hopefully!).
All from one random fact about a scar.
Networking and creating social connections is not just about speaking to people.
It’s about taking the time to listen. To learn and to digest new bits of information which you will benefit from. This can then be shared and enjoyed by others at the next social occasion or discussion.
Stephen Covey said:
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply.”
We all have so much to say and feel our opinions are all valid, which of course they are. However, if you can take a step back and be genuinely interested in what you are listening to and let the conversation flow organically, it has the chance to develop into something even more interesting.
The quote is for leaders, teachers, friends, colleagues and our other halves 😊
R – RECEIVE: Pay attention
A – APPRECIATE: Show interest
S – SUMMARISE: Use ‘So…’ in your responses
A – ASK: Ask questions afterwards
The whole point of a B2B event is to network and build relationships with your peers, prospects. It’s to share business ideas, to discuss challenges and to discover opportunities.
It is also an opportunity to sell yourself, and your business if applicable. Life is one sales task after the next. You have to become an expert at this to master your own universe.
This starts by extending your hand and saying ‘Hello’. Which is arguably the most powerful way to meet new people, and still probably the most successful pickup line in history.
The challenge is twofold. How do you talk so that people listen, and what can you do to improve how you pitch or position yourself?
You can also start with the HAIL approach to speaking – another acronym inspired by Julian Treasure.
H – HONESTY be clear and straight
A – AUTHENTICITY be yourself
I – INTEGRITY be your word
L – LOVE wish them well
And then you can watch this great TED talk by Julian who goes on to share some vital tips on how to speak so that people listen. Definitely worth a watch.
I also really like Julian Treasure.
I use these techniques now before I speak in front of a room full of people. They have really helped me, although I’m sure my colleagues would disagree (Richard, the other Chief Nation MD, I’m looking at you).
Here are some recommendations for making the most out of most events in terms of the information you need to have at hand
– Know why you are there
– Have your 2-minute pitch ready
– Have your 30-second pitch ready
– Research the theme of the event, the audience and/or guests if you can
– Prepare questions or think about what you want to get out of the event from a personal and business perspective
More importantly, know your go-to karaoke track
And if you’re really stuck for conversation you can also ask if they pronounce a Graphics Interchange Format as GIF /dʒɪf/ JIF or /ɡɪf/ GHIF?
Our business relies on creating VIP networking experiences which are conducive to relationship building and new business generation for technology companies.
The events are crucial for marketing and sales teams to establish new social connections with decision-makers from the world’s leading businesses.
The relationships lead to improvements in technology solutions for major brands. In turn they improve employee experiences at the respective companies. More importantly, they improve customer experience and the way we interact with various brands and products.
*Semi-sales pitch below*
Look away now if you don’t want to learn about running amazing B2B networking experiences.
I’d like to share some highlights from the B2B event success factors document we created. This was inspired by 15 years of event management experience.
If you are looking to create (or attend) the best of B2B events then look out for these important factors.
Clear event objectives
When choosing to run a C-Level B2B Networking Event, the first and most important thing to consider is what the objectives are. Do you want to:
– Sell a product?
– Build relationships?
– Share thought leadership?
– Launch a new product or solution?
– Provide entertainment?
Having a clear idea of the objectives will help to shape the event, gather the right information, attract the right audience, and work with the right teams.
Event themes that resonate
The most successful events have a theme that resonates with the target audience, which provides guests with clear benefits that show the value of attending. In considering the theme, it is important to ask:
– Who is the target audience?
– What current business issues are they facing?
– What value does your company provide in overcoming those issues?
– Who has your company helped already?
Speakers or industry experts
The most successful events have an external or customer speaker who offers insight that guests will find useful in their roles.
Most commonly, successful events provide a customer speaker, an industry expert, a thought-leader or a celebrity speaker well known for their knowledge of a topic.
Speakers provide the strongest and most compelling reason to attend. In considering the speaker, it is important to ask:
– Who will be speaking?
– What industry insight can they share?
Who’s going to be there
With enough time, a powerful agenda and strong industry speakers, our C-Level events boast acceptance rates of as high as 1 in 30, way above industry standard. It’s important to consider what acceptance ratio you expect to achieve when selecting your targets. We will aim to overfill our C-Level events to allow for cancellations, no-shows and non-target registrations. A more niche offering may result in a smaller demographic, and consequently a smaller event.
Running an event with the required amount of invite lead-time will result in a well-attended event. We recommend a full 6-week lead-time, ideally longer.
Sometimes a 5-star experience isn’t the most suitable choice. For example, an event for public sector workers is better suited to a civic space or government building. Always keep the target audience in mind before you choose a venue.
The Right Experience
We’ve covered the basics of what makes a good business event. The next question is what can you do to elevate it from a standard B2B format to something memorable for your guests?
The experience mustn’t detract from the objectives – we want them to attend and be engaged for the right reasons – and it must complement the brief, format and agenda.
Consider whether you and your business want to:
There are endless options to try but it’s best to keep it simple.
We run various B2B networking experiences, from breakfasts to brunches, and from wine and gin to beer and whisky tasting experiences. These have all designed to increase social connections, generate new business and create business communities of today’s and tomorrow’s leaders.
See the full list of Chief Experiences here.