According to so-called networking experts, there are three “Ps” that are important in any sort of networking, and these are people, people, and more people. Although this type of categorization is just plain annoying, there is of course truth in it. So when it comes to thinking up networking ideas for small groups it is important to remember that behind every event, it is the people that matter more than the content of the meeting. Whatever activity you choose is likely ok as long as everyone is engaged with it.
What is Networking?
Networking is all about making and maintaining relationships, and in this time of social isolation it is important to have social interaction whether in a work based scenario or amongst friends. We have all been forced into Zoom calls and lengthy video chats, and it can be difficult to cope with if everyone just sits there and stares at the screen. Yet something too complicated does not always suit the online format.
If you are working from home and running an online work meeting or seminar, you should always start with an icebreaker. Ask each participant their name and how they are feeling before moving onto the work part of the meeting and that way everyone will feel engaged. This sounds good sense and good manners because it is only polite to introduce people and to put them at their ease.
According to so-called experts in this, you can try asking more off the wall interesting questions too such as “What is the one thing you are secretly pleased that you don’t have to do now that you are socially distancing?” Or apparently even annoying questions such as, “What will I eat today?” or similar.
In all honesty, asking a work colleague what anybody should eat sounds like a special kind of hell, but one small consolation must be that at least with an online work meeting, you don’t actually have to remain in the same room as these peers.
Once the meeting is up and running, you can increase the misery by insisting that everyone takes part in group activities. These would be fun amongst friends but not always appropriate for work colleagues.
One example of networking ideas for small groups that we found described as a fun and playful icebreaker for Zoom is called Sketch Your Neighbour. You draw the person in the next Zoom box to you and then show the picture to the group.
Networking ideas for small groups do not have to be work related. Many small friendship groups and families have taken to online quizzing, like a duck to water. Having virtual drinks together – recreating the bar or pub atmosphere from your own home can be fun. And don’t forget the ever popular Zoom Kitchen Disco. It might seem weird to dance about in your kitchen in front of a panel of faces, but when we all look back to 2020 and the COVID crisis, this is exactly the type of activity we will remember.