I follow a bunch of smart people on Twitter, and I probably tweet at them far too often. I recently replied to a tweet, saying that I’d really like an article on events (for conferences and the like) which aren’t centred around drinking. Someone else tweeted back at me and told me to consolidate it myself. On a little reflection, this was entirely fair.
So, here is it; a list of events which can be run to allow people to network, without there being the inherent expectation that people drink alcohol. As for why this is important: Not everyone drinks. For some it’s medical. For some they don’t like how they are when they’re not sober. For others, they don’t like how other people are when they’re not sober. Everyone knows someone who acts inappropriately. And then there’s the safety aspect. Sure, most people who attend events are fine, but it only takes one person to drop a roofie in someone’s drink.
Not all events have to be free from alcohol. It just shouldn’t be the focus. While a free bar is good for the people who drink, it’s not so good for those attendees who don’t. And it means that they’re subsidising everyone else.
Not all events can be entirely inclusive. It’s a tradeoff that you’ll have to keep in mind. Not everyone is physically able to perform all activities. So bear that in mind when picking events to run. The target audience is important, but try and keep at least your major networking event inclusive.
Nice simple one. Easy to make inclusive, as you can cater for people with intolerances, allergies, and preferences. Just make sure you provide places for people to sit, as a stand up buffet can get tiring, and not everyone is good on their feet for extended periods. Don’t go for live music, keep it reasonably quiet, so people can talk. That’s the point, after all.
There’ll be a number of these, and the same caveats apply to them all. Mostly, that you’re going to be excluding some attendees, because they’re going to be unable to actually perform the activity. Make sure you provide for people to attend and interact, even if they don’t participate. Obviously dependent on availability.
- Axe throwing.
- Obstacle courses
- Go Karting
- Horseback riding
- Rock Climbing
- Pinball Night. (Ok, this one is less physical. But the basic premise stands)
- Nerf Battle
- Ice Skating
If you’re in a location which has places people might want to go see, it’s an option for a longer event. Stick everyone on buses and take them somewhere. The Grand Canyon. Hoover Dam. Around the Golden Circle. Around the HMS Belfast. To a Museum. Downside: you might lose someone somewhere. Make sure to provide contact details, in case someone gets left behind. Make sure you have someone available to go rescue them.
A little more limited in the numbers you can get involved in this, due to how many people you can shove in one. But people have to work together, so that’s something.
Not for actual money, I’d suggest. If you want a buy in, maybe have it go to charity. Consulting a lawyer may well be a good idea for this. If there’s no money involved, you’re probably safe. Some religions may have issues.
There are many different teas in the world. And many things which people sell as tea, which aren’t actual teas. Finding someone to run this might be a little difficult, but I think it might be worth it.
Everyone has problems. Or things which they want to talk over with their peers. So have people put problems on small bits of paper, stick them in a bowl, and pick a few to have groups talk about. Obviously a little riskier than others. You’ll probably want to seed them.
Similar to the buffet. If you’re in a part of the world which has foods which most people wouldn’t eat normally, give them a chance to try them out. Though if you feed them Hákarl, you’re probably evil.
There will be others. And I’ll likely expand this list over time, as I come across other people’s ideas. Pretty much none of this is original to me. Either already suggested by someone, or a logical extrapolation.