The Biggest Networking Mistake Event Planners Make

Nashcocktail photo by Bayard Saunders. 

Nashcocktail photo by Bayard Saunders. 

I ran Nashcocktail, a monthly evening cocktail mixer, for a couple of years before I clued into something I had been missing. The event members were happy at that point, I knew it because I would send an occasional survey to find out. However, there was a big thing I was missing. 

Nashcocktail was made for technology professionals to mingle in a casual setting. Each month developers, designers, content creators, tech entrepreneurs, bloggers, and digital marketing professionals would meet up to enjoy a cold drink or two. The mixing took place organically but I noticed many people would stick with those they already knew. 

The Introduction Circle

One month, I noticed the number of wallflowers was far too high. I always hated seeing anyone standing alone, so I stopped the event to make an announcement. 

I asked everyone to gather and for each person to take a moment to introduce themselves to the group. Who are you? What do you do? What brought you to Nashcocktail?

I pointed out the importance of listening to each person because they could be your next client, employee, investor, employer, etc. After this took place, everyone knew who to go to speak with next. This introduction circle proved to be a key part of what made Nashcocktail such a success when I ran the event. 

This works best in a group setting of no more than forty or fifty people. They need to be urged to be brief in their introductions so the whole evening isn't an introduction circle.