You Can’t Meet in Person, but You Can Meet Face to Face

Meeting people is one of the most important attributes of any business networking event

Illustration of a person hand over a smartphone on a Zoom call
Serendipity has been a missing element of online networking events. Getty Images
Headshot of Shelly Palmer

I miss meeting new people. I miss bumping into people I know. So, necessity being the mother of invention, my team has been experimenting with different ways to gather our community—and we have a plan.

Introducing the Shelly Palmer Online Networking Salons. They are free, category-specific, weekly, 20-minute, super-curated, small Zoom meetings where you will introduce yourself, meet some new people, bump into old friends, learn something, hang out for a bit and then get back to work.

Here’s how we tested the theory and why we know it works.

Networking essentials

We polled thousands of members of our community. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that meeting new people is considered the most important attribute of any business networking event. Ninety-three percent of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with this statement: “I attend business networking events to meet people I need to know to move my business forward.”

But serendipity—happy accidental meetings in this case—ranked almost as high. How many times have you attended a cocktail party and bumped into a friend who asked you if you knew the person they were speaking with? This has been considered the missing element of online networking events. So we used some math to solve the problem.

A little data science

I could spend a few paragraphs spewing technical jargon about how we use publicly available data, the algorithms we use for clustering and classification and the tools we use to populate each salon, but I’d rather not. Subject matter experts, data scientists and engineers worked together to create this new business networking environment. The bottom line is that you’ll be in the right room with the right people and our salon process will help grow your business network.

Everyone hosts virtual events

Why is this different? Like you, I’ve attended dozens of virtual cocktail hours and virtual salon dinners in the past six months. They are great, which is why everyone does them. But after six months of testing, we concluded that if we modified the format, the timing, the curation, the focus and the frequency of our events, we could create something much more valuable: a better way to network. Not just a better way during the pandemic, but a better way.

So pick a topic, pick a day and request to join a Shelly Palmer Online Networking Salon for 20 minutes. They take place weekdays from 11:05 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. ET on Zoom.

Request your credentials:


@shellypalmer Shelly Palmer is CEO of The Palmer Group, a strategic advisory, technology solutions and business development practice focused at the nexus of media and marketing with a special emphasis on machine learning and data-driven decision-making.
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