Sviluppare nuovi contatti, mantenere quelli attuali, intrecciare relazioni professionali: in una parola, fare networking! Ciò non significa solo partecipare a conferenze, convegni di settore ed eventi organizzati dalle associazioni: perché non andare oltre e imparare a organizzare i "networking dinners"?
Oltreoceano sono utilizzati già da anni, in Italia invece è un territorio ancora da sviluppare: i "networking dinners" sono piccoli eventi dedicati al confronto e alla condivisione di idee, anche tra colleghi provenienti da diversi settori merceologici. Decisamente contenuti dal punto di vista dimensionale rispetto ai grandi convegni, permettono di sviluppare una relazione più stretta e profonda, in un clima collaborativo e disteso, volto a favorire lo scambio d'informazioni e di esperienze.
Un articolo recentemente pubblicato su Harvard Business Review spiega come organizzare questi eventi, in particolare come scegliere le persone da invitare e individuare il giusto mix. Di seguito i passi fondamentali dell'articolo.
(...) Hosting your own events enables you to build relationships more strategically than a conference or mixer typically allows, because you’re controlling the guest list, and as the convener, you get “credit” for the connections your guests make with one another. It’s also an excellent way for introverts to level the playing field, ensuring our gathering takes place in the kind of calm, quiet environment where we do best.
Over the past four years, I’ve hosted dozens of networking dinners — about once a month. I’ve discovered it’s both a rewarding way to connect with people, and much easier than I initially expected: you don’t need a special skill set, and the logistics don’t have to be overwhelming.
The first question to ask, of course, is who to invite. Many people overthink this — Will anyone accept my invitation? Will people get along? What’s the right mix? — searching for a “perfect” combination that doesn’t exist.
(...) here are five strategies you can use to curate your attendees and bring a fascinating mix of people together.
Think strategically about the size of your gathering. Many people are so caught up in who to invite, they forget an equally critical question: how many? When organizing a dinner, for instance, I try never to invite more than 10 people. Above that size, it becomes hard to have a single “table conversation” and create a unified experience for attendees. (...) an even smaller group — perhaps six or eight — may be optimal.
Decide if your event will have a theme. One way to guarantee attendees have something to talk about is to convene guests who may not know each other, but have something in common — for instance, they all attended your alma mater, or they’re all in the tech industry, or they’re all women entrepreneurs. This isn’t mandatory, however. I often organize miscellaneous “interesting people” dinners, because high-performing professionals often enjoy meeting people outside their profession. (...)
Think carefully about the mix. If you’re going for a mixed group, it’s essential that it is a genuine assortment, not simply a cluster of connected people and then a few outliers. A group where six people already know each other well and two haven’t met anyone is a recipe for disaster, because the old pals will almost certainly revert to inside jokes and private conversations, leaving out the newcomers. It’s your responsibility to make sure everyone is on equal footing.
It’s also important to consider people’s personalities. (...) As a host — just as if you were moderating an event — your job is to create a great overall group dynamic. (...)
Consider recruiting a co-host. But what if you feel like you don’t know enough people to invite? (...) a great solution is to find a co-host. Think about colleagues you know and like, who have a wide social network — these are the “connectors” in your life. (...) This enables us to take pressure off at the event (there are two people who can make sure the conversation is moving smoothly and that the appetizers are appearing at the right time), as well as cross-pollinate our social networks and meet new people.
Leverage existing contacts to build your guest list. Once you’ve hosted someone at a dinner gathering, they become an ambassador of sorts. They understand what the events are like, so they have a sense of who else would make a good attendee and be eager to attend. You can leverage this dynamic to fill subsequent dinners with interesting guests. Follow up with your guests afterward, asking if they have friends they think would enjoy attending in the future, and if they would introduce you. A related strategy is to host a dinner with people you already know reasonably well, and ask each of them to bring a “+1” whom they think is interesting, or who fits the evening’s theme (“bring a friend who’s a fellow journalist/IP attorney/CMO”).
(...) By following the strategies above, you can bring together remarkable people and deepen professional relationships that may prove critical in the years to come.
Fonte: D. Clark, How to plan your own networking event (and invite the right people), Harvard Business Review, Gennaio 2019