Turning Networking into a Social Affair
by Rachel Mae Furman
All we need as busy entrepreneurs are a few more hours in the day. Is that too much to ask? Well, apparently yes, so we need to be more clever with our time.
It’s time to start strategically double booking to kill a few meetings and social obligations with one stone. Now, I’m not talking about important meetings that require your undivided attention. Contracts and budgets require a special one-on-one focus. But those meetups you just haven’t been able to get around to—that friend who wants to collaborate, an old colleague that started a new business, that younger friend who wanted advice... Pretty soon you’ve got every lunch and happy hour booked two months out at the expense of your precious downtime.
Spending all of your extra time meeting up can make good social interaction start to feel like obligation or a chore, which sucks all the fun out of the experience. It’s time to start multi-tasking and turning meetups into strategic social occasions. Instead of running all over town, I like to combine two or three meetups into a productive happy hour at home. But there is an art to getting everyone on-board and staying on-task. Here are a few tips on how to execute a fun and productive multi-meeting:
1. Keep it Simple
Throwing a party takes planning and energy. Just having 4-6 ladies over for crudité and networking isn’t as overwhelming. Have a purpose and a few treats and keep it at that.
2. Curate Your Crew
When combining meetings, you want everyone to feel like they got more out of the experience, rather than less of your attention. Keep the group small, and make sure everyone is from a similar industry or could benefit from being introduced.
3. Build Anticipation
An invitation always makes a get together feel more special. Make a simple invite on Paperless Post to set the tone for a special and productive day.
4. Set the Intention
Be clear in the wording of your invitation that this is a productive meet-up to bring together a few of your favorite ladies to network or talk about a specific topic over a glass of wine or a cocktail.
5. Stay On Task
Start the Happy Hour with an agenda. Introduce everyone, say why you brought everyone here, and mention some specifics that you’d like to discuss.
6. Keep the Timing Tight
Chatting can often last for hours. Be clear upfront about timing—a start time and end time—so that your invites will be remembered as productive and efficient rather than all-day affairs.
7) Make Easy Treats
Since this is a meeting with colleagues, you need something that wows but is easily executed, so focus can stay on the topics at hand. See the recipe below for an easy and healthy happy hour hack…
Fresh Pressed Juice Cocktails
It's easy to make fresh cocktails for a happy hour or a meeting; the key is a little preparation. The cocktail doesn't have to be complicated if the presentation can provide the "wow" factor. For a healthy cocktail option, I use an easy template of Spirit + Juice + Bubbles. Just mix your favorite Pressed Juicery flavor with 1 ounce of your spirit of choice and top with an artisanal soda. I like rum and ginger beer with Apple Ginger Lemon Cayenne juice, gin & tonic with Strawberry Lime juice, and vodka and club soda with Beet Apple Ginger juice.
Before the gathering, I pour all three ingredients into mini glass bottles with a funnel, capped off right away to hold in the carbonation, then kept refrigerated until guests arrive. When the party starts, the guests can simply pour their pre- made cocktails over ice, so it leaves the hostess—you!—free to mingle.
The Drink Template
1oz Spirit (Vodka, Gin, Tequila, Rum)
2-3oz Juice (Favorite Pressed Juicery flavor)
1oz Bubbles (Artisanal Soda)
With an agenda and a cocktail in hand, you can now mingle about the room freely. You may just bang out three collaborations by the end of the evening, catch up with some colleagues and feel on top of your social life. Who says you can’t do it all?
For more on the pursuit of leisure visist www.smokeandhoney.com