Here’s the companion post to “Sizzling Summer Business-Networking Ideas, Part 1.”
Summer is a fine season for shindigs with a more informal vibe–the kind that spark new business connections and strengthen existing strategic partnerships.
My two-part blog series aims to stimulate your creativity. I hope to entice you into leaving the “same old same old” (business-networking events) behind.
Your use of these ideas isn’t limited to the summer months. If it feels right, run with one of them for fall, winter, or next spring.
If you thought Part 1 was swell, wait until you read Part 2!
For a Memorable Networking Venue, Sample Weird NJ‘s Unusual Offerings: When strolling about a Barnes and Noble near the magazine racks, have you ever flipped through a copy of Weird NJ? I have, and I must tell you: there’s business-networking-idea gold in them there pages.
A magazine about Garden State oddities, Weird NJ is “Your Travel Guide to New Jersey’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets.”
Be advised: A majority of the quirky locations featured in Weird NJ aren’t in the immediate South Jersey area.
However, the companion website has a forum that’s bound to help your organization or networking group find an unforgettable South Jersey venue for your next event.
Some of my personal Weird NJ favorites include:
- Cemetery Safari
- Fabled People and Places (Check out the mythical Midgetville as well as Ong’s Hat, a deserted village in the Pine Barrens.)
- Personalized Properties
Remember to “stay weird,” fellow New Jersey business-networking professionals!
(FYI: When designating an event as an official MONOPOLY tournament, you should seek Hasbro’s approval and follow the company’s guidelines.)
The number of preregistered attendees would determine how many MONOPOLY game sets you’ll need for the evening.
Anyone who signs up to BYOB (bring your own board) qualifies for a discount. Allow these people to “pass GO” and collect an extra $200 (in MONOPOLY money)!
For a full-throttle Monopoly marathon, plan it as a fundraiser. Inform your attendees they’ll be required to collect sponsors/donations for the event.
If possible, source and serve MONOPOLY-related snacks during the program. Park Place Punch, anyone?
Instead of a Business Conference, Plan a Summer Unconference: No, I’m not kidding. This is an actual thing! Unconferences first surfaced in the IT world back in the late 1990s.
Per a Forbes article (from 2014), this type of business event has regained popularity and is on the rise once more.
The basic concept shouldn’t surprise you. Instead of a tightly crafted agenda with confirmed speakers and breakout sessions, the event’s attendees determine the itinerary that day (or night).
Your guests become spontaneous facilitators, selecting the unconference’s discussion topics.
According to unconference expert and entrepreneur Joshua Kauffman, only two rules apply:
1) “Nobody is giving a presentation–unconferences are all about conversations.”
2) “If a session doesn’t inspire attendees and they are not contributing, they should get up and find a different one. (It’s called the Law of Two Feet.)”
Doesn’t this sound GOOD?!? Who’s with me, South Jersey business friends?
Son of TED = a Local TEDx Event Filled with Multi-Disciplinary Inspiration: Unless you live in an underground bunker with no access to sunshine, no Internet connection and no Wi-Fi, you’ve heard of TED Talks and TED conferences.
People rave about certain TED speakers. Simon Sinek, Pamela Meyer, and Dan Gilbert are some of the “talkers” featured in TED.com’s “The most popular talks of all time.”
But there’s a wonderful TED offshoot known as TEDx. A TEDx event is a local gathering where community members experience live TED-like talks and view previously recorded videos from TED conferences.
There are multiple ironclad rules to follow when organizing a TEDx event, but I think my South Jersey peeps are more than ready for the challenge.
TEDx topics aren’t restricted to entrepreneurship and business. A South Jersey TEDx could bring together an engaging variety of people who don’t swim in the same cement pond.
Any business owner who’s ever been to a TED conference would be an ideal TEDx organizer or co-organizer. I’m just saying…
Tai Chi Allows Business Professionals to Self-Soothe: Many of you are already familiar with yoga and Pilates. These exercise modalities offer benefits extending beyond physical health.
Another fitness technique available to us Westerners is tai chi. It’s an ancient Chinese martial art consisting of a series of deliberate, slow movements and positions.
Continual practice of tai chi can strengthen your mind-body connection while providing partial relief from joint stiffness, arthritis, and other bodily ailments.
Modern-day enthusiasts consider tai chi a form of “meditation in motion” for reducing stress and anxiety. What small-business owner or entrepreneur would resist taming his or her cumulative stress factors? None that I know…
Another ancient practice, Qigong (aka Qi Gong), is related to tai chi, but I’ll save that for another blog post.
The owner of a local fitness or yoga studio would be an ideal host/hostess for a tai chi business-networking event. Consider opening the program with a guest speaker before transitioning into a full-scale tai chi session.
“Takin’ Care of Business” via Karaoke Night: This wouldn’t be your ordinary Karaoke Night. You know, the kind that (semi-drunkenly?) unfurls every Wednesday evening in a local hotel’s bar or lounge. Pas du tout.
In between sets of business owners and their employees belting out the words to corporate/money-related ditties, the networking would flow fast and furious.
I’ve taken the liberty of drafting an initial song list for what will probably prove to be the must-attend networking event of the summer:
- “9 to 5” (from the movie of the same name–Dolly Parton)
- “Can’t Buy Me Love” (The Beatles)
- “Let the River Run” (Working Girl–Carly Simon)
- “Money Changes Everything” (Cyndi Lauper)
- “Money (Makes the World Go Around)” (Cabaret)
- “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” (Pet Shop Boys)
- “Sixteen Tons” (Merle Travis … um, who?)
I suggest a financial-services firm or financial adviser take the reins and make this networking event go giddy-up. What hotel or restaurant with a kick-ass lounge area would pass up the opportunity to host this event? Exactly…
Has your business or organization locked in its networking programs for the summer?
Are any of my suggestions already on your networking wish list? If not, which of these tentative events sound like winners to you?
I’m truly interested in learning more about tai chi as a way to strengthen my own mind-body connection. Who wants to practice an ancient martial art with me?
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) company in Marlton, New Jersey, that plies its trade via copywriting, editing, and other content-marketing services. She revels in shielding her clients from the time-consuming pain of writing their own print or web marketing and promotional copy.
Please call Lori Shapiro of By All Writes LLC at 856-810-9764 (or e-mail her via firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule the gratis 20-minute consultation that will resolve your current copywriting or editing dilemma…