We all know the standard networking event format. You arrive at a swanky venue, slap on a name tag and proceed to wonder around the room clutching a glass of red and nodding your way into conversations with strangers. Then there's shaking hands whilst holding both a paper plate & glass of wine (a very difficult task) and leaving with pockets full of business cards. This is the classic 'old-school networking event'. We do understand the need for these events and how important getting out there and chatting to other businesses is, but we'd much rather do it in a different way!
Brighton is home to one of the most thriving communities of start-ups, freelancers, organisations and charities, all enthusiastic to get to know one another. In turn, there are a whole host of exciting events that cater to many different industries. We would much rather have a chat with someone during a workshop, take part in an open discussion or try out a new product to learn about how we can collaborate. Laid-back events can lead to a true sense of trust and create an atmosphere of fun, where ideas and real in-depth conversations can be exchanged. Exactly how we believe business should be!
Here are some of our favourite events to meet new contacts in Brighton:
If you haven't heard of TEDx then this is certainly the time to learn about it. These inspirational talks are held at Brighton Dome and give an insight into a whole host of industries. You'll get talks from speakers such as Dom Joly from Trigger Happy TV and Steven Day, Co-Founder of Pure Planet and Renewable Energy Expert. By the end of the evening you'll definitely have something to talk about with fellow attendees.
This organisation has been bringing the digital community of Sussex together for over a decade, hosting events all over the city. They provide a platform for freelancers, start-ups and bigger businesses to connect through workshops, breakfast sessions, talks and loads more.
The hosts of Toast Brighton began running their breakfasts after they became bored of the usual corporate networking events - just like us! That's why they run events to create a buzz around networking and make it fun and relaxed. You can mingle around a breakfast buffet and leave feeling inspired after hearing from one of their motivational speakers.
This is a similar one to TEDx Brighton but on a slightly smaller scale. Local people and small organisations can get involved to share the story of what they're doing. With only 20 slides of 20 seconds each, the talks are short and fast-paced, giving time to include more speakers that add variety to the evening. If you're thinking of attending, the PechaKucha Brighton website has a whole host of past talks you can check out before you go.
Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce
This council-run community hosts events both large and small, from conferences to workshops. Though you'll have to pay for membership, it's well worth it, as the Chamber of Commerce really does act as a central hub for local businesses - giving you so many opportunities and connections. They have a great selection of events so you have a loads of choice of what to attend.
O N C A
With sustainability, creativity and community driving everything they do,
O N C A provides a space to create and expand a network of individuals and communities with the same values. They hold regular events such as storytelling evenings, flower arranging workshops and artist's talks at their gallery on London Road, welcoming those looking to host events of their own.
If you're a creative you'll probably have come across Glug already, but if not we'll tell you a little about it. This event is always packed to the brim with graphic designers, illustrators, animation wiz kids and loads of other creative types. Held at the Patterns nightclub, the evening could begin with a mingle around the bar, trying out VR headsets, watching live art or pulling your own screen print. This gets everyone chatting before the line-up of speakers begin. Past speakers have included David Shrigley, Supermundane and Kyle Bean. Get ready to be inspired!
We're cheating slightly on this one but felt it was too great a networking platform to miss out. If you haven't come across Meetup yet then we urge you to give it a go! This is a great space to create online communities, find people with similar interests in Brighton and take part in those interests together. You are encouraged to create your own events and invite your group to take part. So if we haven't listed an event that you would be looking for here, then check out the Meetup site and see if it exists. If not, we'll leave it up to you get it up and running.
All of these events are held in Brighton and are great ways of creating relationships with people outside of 'work mode'. Organic conversations that come from a shared experience or topical point are far more worthwhile and memorable than those which aren't. But we'd say the best way of getting out there is by hosting an event of your own!