Networking drinks are back – and it’s time to take our own advice

Some folk will already know I’ve been running a series of events over the last few years to try to get people out from behind their desks and away from their phone screens to meet people face to face.

This effort was prompted by a feeling that we’re losing the art of creating and sustaining relationships – something that’s pivotal to many professions but perhaps PR more than most.

After all, if we were advising colleagues or clients about some PR basics, we’d say: relationships are pretty much everything; get on the front foot with those we might want or need a relationship with; and avoid being in the situation where you have to make a transparently selfish call out from the blue looking for a favour!

Yet, as I noted when I first started out on this nearly four years ago, some people seem to have lost sight of this altogether. I remember having an exchange with someone at a partner organisation to Edinburgh council when I worked there and I suggested we have a coffee. Her reply: “What for? Can’t you just email me?”

I suppose I should thank that individual for providing me with the spur to organise the drinks in the first place, even though it was a pretty depressing sentiment. Thankfully, most people are just battling pressures of time and inertia, rather than an inherent reluctance to get out and meet people.

The first three events attracted around 25, 25 and then 12 attendees. I considered throwing in the towel after that but decided on one more push. 100 or so folk attended that next event, with even more at the following two. The last event coincided with the wettest day of 2012 and was a relative washout with only 20 or so braving the downpour. Again, that was a little disheartening but here I am again after a hiatus of a year or so, thanks to the encouragement of those at the events who have said they really value the opportunity they provide, and the nagging of those who wanted me to get my act together!

Numbers are looking really good for the event on 6 February, but I know from conversations with people over the years that networking is something that all of us can struggle to find the motivation or confidence to do at times. I should have a few more posts on that soon…

In the meantime, please head over to and register for one of the five events I’ve set up between February and June next year. The first one is generously sponsored by Precise, with a free drink for early birds. If any other relevant organisations want to put some money behind the bar too for the other events, please just drop me a line – sargo @ webershandwick . com



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