What is ‘serendipity’ and how to engineer it into your business events.
“Why are we here?” … A question asked among many who’ve attended business events in the past. Long, tedious afternoons spent at dull corporate gatherings have often made us question why we’re in the jobs we’re in – we’ve all been there (despite the countless occasions when we wished we hadn’t). We’ve often left feeling uninspired, unmotivated and discredited from the work that we’re trying to do, which hinders any possibility to steer towards progression and the achievement of our objective goals.
Why? The answer is simple and every one of us has felt its repercussions at one point or another: segregation – the number one enemy of social collaboration and an adverse concept that has an even more unfavourable outcome. In the past, and even on occasions now, there’s often two big elephants present at business events that have made their way onto the guest list: hierarchies and egos. Both compensate each other, but to everybody else, they pose merely as a barrier that prevent any connections from being made.
At Canvas and Stone, we don’t believe in barriers and we definitely don’t favour restrictions. Instead, we stride towards a more active, revitalising concept that we consider business events to be all about: interaction. We take our exclusive venues and use them to create unique business events that redefine the way your employees think about away days and networking events. Whether our houses are used for corporate events or private parties, we always encourage innovation, going beyond what is expected to create that element of surprise so that people leave having relished the experience, coming away with something they weren’t expecting (in a good way!). We believe in happenstance, and the power of serendipity – heard of it? In business, it has it’s own scientific meaning that steers you towards discovering the unexpected and going on to build something exciting based on that discovery. Sound good so far? Listen on.
We’re moving into a new era of engagement that has been long overdue. Once you’re in it, you’ll never look back because traditional networking event ideas simply won’t deliver the results you can get from serendipitous interactions with strangers, because you never know who you are going to meet. Networking events should be about removing the social barriers that stand in the path between you and innovation. Ridding of the old and introducing people to new ways of reaching the desired end goal can inspire even the most veteran of networkers and releases them from a confinement that, before now has prevented good things coming from networking events.
So how do you bring out such serendipitous behaviour? Here’s our approach to getting the most out of networking any event.
- Find a point of focus ~ leave hierarchies and egos at the door – you won’t need them here. How can you expect to find and meet people you didn’t know you were looking for if you disconnect from those around you? Remove any name badges with your job title written on and instead, shake hands and introduce yourself by name, you should know it well enough.
- Seek opportunity ~ Attend an event and actively seek new opportunities. Be wilful, everyone has it in them somewhere. Serendipity must be sort after – go forth with ‘carpe diem’ in mind (meaning seize the moment). Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you – you could be waiting a long time. Set yourself a target to make at least five new introductions in the first instance. Motivate yourself to take it to a new level by introducing them to the people next to you and add value to a newly formed community by chances that will suddenly present themselves. You will be surprised how small moves, when made smartly can put bigger things into motion!
- Create affinity ~ show kindness to the person next to you – if you’re pouring yourself a drink, pour one for them too. It’s not necessarily about who you are any more, without name tags, everyone is on an even keel. Focus on what you can give that will inspire others to want to learn more about you and vice versa. The most interesting and influential person could be sat right next to you. However, we’re so quick to sometimes judge by an appearance (and what’s written on a name tag), we find ourselves subconsciously put off.
- Embrace randomness ~ success in business is all by chance, by choosing the right paths and embracing all new possibilities. Whether this is through fortuitous meetings or an unexpected insight – success is random. At business events, randomness can happen through conversations with people you didn’t expect to speak to, let alone provide you with opportunistic insight. And remember, they aren’t walking job titles, but people that can share inspiration and values.
A top tip from Canvas and Stone ~ if you are organising an event yourself, remove any chairs from your business events. It may seem like an unnatural concept, but we promise it delivers logic in its execution by preventing people to sit in their comfortable familiar groups.
Whatever event you should be attending or hosting, remember to engineer a good dose of serendipity to create a truly valuable business event. You and your guests will discover a new, inspiring approach that will open the door to exciting (and possibly random) opportunities. Aspire to go off-piste for a change, embrace the unexpected, and celebrate the new connections that will come from it.
Ready for more? Call our events team to find out how we can help create a serendipitous networking event bespoke to you and your business.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call the team on 020 3741 8040.