In the last eight months, many of us in sales have had to get creative...quickly.
Remember the days when we used to have countless in-person networking opportunities on our calendars? Charity events, seminars, dinners, conferences, alumni groups, community committees...the list goes on and on. There was no shortage of chances to mix and mingle - morning, noon and night.
And, now, some of us are eight months into having attended few, if any, in-person networking events for business purposes. A lot of golf. An occasionally coffee. Maybe an in-person meeting here and there; but nothing compared to before.
If you haven't tried hosting a virtual happy hour because you think no one would want to come, or everyone's tired of Zoom; I'm here to say what do you have to lose? If you are used to driving a significant portion of your business leads from word-of-mouth, community visibility and in-person events, planning a creative virtual connection experience might be just what you need.
10 things to ponder when planning to host a networking happy hour
What if you and another person (a friend, spouse, partner, or colleague) co-hosted a business networking happy hour?
What if you learned how to use breakout rooms in a platform like Zoom? Could you take a larger group and offer small group discussion as part of the format?
What if you invited your manager or manager's manager to collaborate with you?
What if you hosted a morning coffee networking experience for those who are morning people, can't do evening happy hours, or do not drink alcohol?
What if you invited everyone to be prepared to toast something on the call and incorporate into the format?
What if you hosted a "costumes highly encouraged" happy hour on Halloween?
What if you hosted a networking happy hour for your neighbors? Maybe you'd learn more about how they spend their days and not just what time they walk their dogs?
What if you invited guest speakers to present on a topic that might be of interest to those you are inviting? Amateur photographers with tips and advice on how to take good pictures with smart phones? A colleague who brews beer or is really into wine?
What if you were the one inviting everyone as the host, and someone else was the facilitator? A gregarious extrovert, or someone who is usually "the life of the party" when we are all in person at big events?
What if you tried to host a happy hour later in the evening, like around 8:00PM or 9:00PM? Would you have better turn out from those of us who need to make dinner and do all the washing up in the kitchen before we can finally sit down with a glass of wine?
In all seriousness, this list might look mostly about drinking...but it's not. It's about connecting. Cocktails, mocktails, juice, ice water - the drink of choice matters not much at all. What matters is that you try hosting an experience for those in your network, and see what happens.
You have nothing to lose.