Once upon a time, first impressions at business networking events were extremely important, as meetings took place in formal environments, and attendees took care in their appearance and approach.

Now, since the pandemic and resulting lockdowns, these initial introductions have become a lot more casual, as individuals have grown accustomed to relaxed/informal meetings through the rise in popularity of Teams and Zoom.

That is not to say people no longer dress smart when meeting potential clients, but there is certainly a lot less formality at these networking events, as a prolonged period of flexible working has given people a different perspective on what really matters.

Besides, after spending the entire pandemic hosting serious business meetings from your kitchen table, a lot of that pretense has gone, and businesses are now much more interested in what you have to say rather than how well you dress.


Mask coming off

The best way to describe this change in attitude is almost like ‘the mask coming off’, in the sense that businesses are no longer overthinking how they approach a meeting, instead becoming more focused on the information shared.

This can only be a positive change, especially for those individuals that feel nervous about the networking experience and the idea of being introduced to lots of new people in one go.

An informal and relaxed networking environment should help guests feel more at ease, allowing better quality meetings to flow more naturally, with participants taking the time to understand the different businesses and their current needs.

Not only this, but an open approach can help build stronger and more authentic connections, as potential clients are likely to respect those businesses that appear genuine and trustworthy, as it shows they have nothing to hide.


Show more character

This idea of appearing genuine by taking a more relaxed approach is not just exclusive to networking events, as there are now a lot of businesses and individuals beginning to realise the benefits of behaving this way on social media too.

Instead of constantly bombarding your audience with promotional posts that advertise your business and the services it provides, there is a strong case for the inclusion of personal content that showcases the character and culture of your organisation.

This ‘life behind the curtain’ style of content generally receives a lot more engagement, as people can relate better to the posts and they enjoy learning more about the people working within the business.

It is then much easier to establish and develop a working relationship with an engaged audience member, who has actively interacted with your content, rather than someone who has become irritated and disinterested by the constant stream of promotional posts.


Capitalise on emerging trends

The key to successful marketing is your organisation’s ability to identify and capitalise on emerging trends, adopting new techniques that will help you engage with your audience.

With evidence to suggest that taking a more casual approach can actually deliver noticeable value, businesses should experiment with different types of content and remove the unnecessary stress and pressure that can sometimes be attached to networking.

Not only will this help you build authentic relationships with potential clients, but you might find it is easier to start a dialogue with certain individuals, as you feel more comfortable and relaxed during the conversation.

If your business currently requires support with specific marketing functions or would like advice on how to be more engaging in its approach, then contact our in-house team for more information.