A group of business leaders, brought together by Manchester based consultancy Elevate GM, has launched a survey to investigate the role of alcohol in networking events.With many more people choosing to cut down on their alcohol intake, participate in monthly hiatuses such as Dry January or Sober October or simply stop drinking altogether, the survey will explore the prevalence of alcohol at networking events and the potential for alcohol-free alternatives.
The survey is aimed at anyone who attends networking events, regardless of whether they drink alcohol, to gain a broader understanding of the issue. It can be completed here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/W2FF2N3.
Ilona Alcock, co-founder and director, Elevate GM says, “I have been actively networking for several years, often attending multiple events in a week. Earlier this year I began to reconsider my relationship with alcohol and noticed just how prevalent it was at the majority of business events.“I took the decision to go alcohol free at the end of February and since then have had numerous conversations with business leaders across the region. This survey aims to better understand the role alcohol plays in networking and whether, as we come out of lockdown restrictions, there is an appetite for alcohol free events.We look forward to sharing the results and running a series of panel discussions to explore the findings further.”
A private roundtable was conducted on 6th October to gain a better insight into the issue and to provide an open forum for discussion. Key themes included distinguishing between social and business activities, increasing productivity, the rise of non-alcoholic beverages and generational paradigms.Kitty Gibson, Business Development Executive at CowCorner Sport attended the roundtable and says, “It was really interesting to hear people’s stories and how alcohol affects them and their professional working lives especially when it came to networking at business events. It struck me that – having worked as an event organizer for five years across different continents – I have never done an event (excluding breakfasts) where there has not been alcohol! When live events resume, I will consider more carefully, if there is a need for alcohol and make delegates more aware of the non-alcoholic alternatives.”
Vikas Shah MBE, CEO of Swiscot, adds, “Whether it’s for health, cultural or any host of reasons, there are many of us for whom conversation rather than alcohol is the most effective social lubricant and so the (almost) prerequisite requirement to be participating in the heavy drinks culture at networking events can make life uncomfortable.“I have nothing against drinking, lord knows I love a nice wine as much as anyone, but it seems that for many events that (rather than getting to know people) has become the real focus…. It’s not about stopping or changing what’s happening now, but just adding more variety to balance things.”
The full report on the role of alcohol events in networking will be produced in collaboration with Maya Black and published in the new year.