"Networking is marketing. Marketing yourself, marketing your uniqueness, marketing what you stand for." — Christine Comaford-Lynch
On Wednesday 1st October, The Golden Network hosted a delightful wine tasting narrated by master of wine Richard Bamfield.
Making the guests comfortable
The event took place in a corner of The Golden Network’s partner The Parcel Yard, illuminated by soft lights which gave the event an intimate feel in an otherwise crowded location. The setting of an event is a crucial aspect in making attendees feel comfortable.
On the table, laid two wine glasses per person, a small one for water and brochures from both the Maison Albert Bichot and The Golden Network. As attendees made their entrance and introductions were facilitated, no one could help but to take a subtle peek at the set up awaiting us. The curious eyes were also looking for the wine bottles.
After a few conversations had already been shared, we invited everyone to take their seat. We were all pleasurably surprised to discover that one of the brochures set out in front of us spread out into a map, pointing out the exact part of France where the wines are produced in; a great starting point for further conversation.
Indeed, at any networking event, you have to build relationships and the easiest way to do that is to find common interests with the person you interact with. It is therefore why finding events that relate to you or finding new experiences will help you connect in an easier way. And ideally you should also aim to have fun.
"Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen." — Brene Brown
Sharing a new experience
Richard Bamfield sat at the head of the table where we could all hear and see him. He then passionately talked us through the history of the wines we were about to taste. Both buzzing with impatience and transported with his words, the attendees started interacting more, asking each other about their experience with wines etc. This is why experiences like this one are great for relationship building: when going through something exciting, we cannot help but to want to share that moment with others and build rapport without effort.
As the evening went on, Richard who undoubtedly has tasted countless amounts of wine by now, made each one feel unique and incredible by the way he would describe them. From the rise of the scent when you twirl the glass to a special aftertaste he made sure we noticed.
Richard reminded us of the ways to properly enjoy a glass of wine by immersing yourself in an exquisite taste or unique smell. The evening was informative, filled with great conversation and delicious wine.
"I like on the table, when we're speaking, the light of a bottle of intelligent wine.” — Pablo Neruda
From wine to relationship building
The highlight of the night was of course the networking part and the wonderful conversation between our guests. It all started with basic introductions (name, occupation, location) and divulged into commentary regarding the shared admiration we were all developing for the wines. We would ask each other questions before directing them to Richard, share opinions, and laugh together as we noticed one the attendees trying to stick with their favourite wine of the night.
Beyond the nature of this event, what it proved to all of us was how beneficial experiential events are when it comes to meeting new people. Meeting strangers can be uncomfortable so learning together and sharing an experience like this one helped tremendously in making conversation and building rapport. We got to learn about each other’s backgrounds by asking questions and bonded over what wines we liked. No matter what experience the event you attend provides you with, these points of conversation can always be used and we advise you to use the environment to connect with the other attendees.
Last but not least, make sure to exchange contact details with all your new connections and follow up within 24 hours. A minimum will be a LinkedIn contact request and at best, a follow-up email.
"The single greatest 'people skill' is a highly developed and authentic interest in the other person." — Bob Burg
Remember that you can network everywhere and that you have to find where networking feels most comfortable for you.
We hope you enjoyed and learned from this article! If you would like more advice and tips, take our Art of Networking online course or book an individual coaching session.