How to Plan Your Own Networking Event (and Invite the Right People)

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The primary problem with this excellent Harvard article is the title – it assumes apparel industry executives and managers network. Most, the majority,  don't. 2019 is my 29th year in this industry. I'm at the top of this industry, in the rare air. Looking back, it is an industry where people don't join, don't show, don't get seen, don't participate – don't network. They're too busy. They're in the weeds.

WHICH is why networks work. They need the exact kinds of help from the precise people they would meet if they networked. If you go back over the last 50 years of Harvard Business Review, you'll find articles every 3 or 4 months about networking. Why? Because it is both the most glaringly obvious and most resolutely refused career/company/personal tool in business.

Well, we write this to you as the only network in the industry with over 200 organizations from 30 links and over a dozen countries in apparel. Quite a network we think you'll agree

How to Plan Your Own Networking Event (and Invite the Right People)
HBR: Dorie Clark, JANUARY 09, 2019

Hosting your own events enables you to build relationships more strategically than a conference or mixer typically allows, because you’re controlling the guest list, and as the convener, you get “credit” for the connections your guests make with one another. It’s also an excellent way for introverts to level the playing field, ensuring our gathering takes place in the kind of calm, quiet environment where we do best.

Over the past four years, I’ve hosted dozens of networking dinners — about once a month. I’ve discovered it’s both a rewarding way to connect with people, and much easier than I initially expected: you don’t need a special skill set, and the logistics don’t have to be overwhelming.

The first question to ask, of course, is who to invite. Many people overthink this — Will anyone accept my invitation? Will people get along? What’s the right mix? — searching for a “perfect” combination that doesn’t exist. As a result, they sometimes give up on the idea of hosting, or throw together a random assortment of people and hope for the best. Clearly, neither is optimal. Read More

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