We were lucky to sneak a couple of VIP passes to the sold out Connect TVT 50 Game Changers event last night. We caught up with people that we have been working with for the last 5 years and a few that we are just starting out with.

In connecting the 50 people/ companies keeping Reading on the digital map today it delivered the event holy grail – a meet-up that will deliver value to all involved and a repeat formula that everyone will want to be part of again next year.

This is what it taught me about the recipe for a successful business networking event:

  1. Location, location, location

The right venue plays a big part in enticing people to business events out of working hours. Choose one that piques curiosity, is easy to get to and has great meeting space and you won’t go far wrong.

The terrace on the 14th floor of the newly refurbished Thames Tower, smack bang in the centre of Reading delivered on all fronts. A little slice of Manhattan in Reading. The cool drinks and canapes helped too.

  1. Mix it up

There was the amazing mix of talent, experience and enthusiasm on display. Long gone is the room full of suits swapping business cards. This is the 50 Game changers and the rules have definitely changed.

We had freshly minted grads mixing it up with CEOs, start- ups with one the ‘Big 4’, suits, shorts, heels and trainers. Never in business history have different generations had so much to learn from one another and it was evident in the animation of the conversation.

  1. Brand local

Building an event brand around the people in an area that are helping to shape it’s future works on so many levels. By getting the key shapers together – especially if you mix it up – you create a virtuous circle of collaboration, ideas and opportunities for attendees and your community.

When you have a director from Oracle (Matthew Price, Cloud Innovation Director) talking about the importance of integrating with the local business community – and how Oracle need to get better at it – you know you’re on to something!

And Adam Hale from Sage People (formerly know as Fairsail) who gave a great talk on how they have grown from a handful of people in a tiny office in Reading to a global company of hundreds. How important each employee has been and how it was bloody hard work and an amazing journey getting to where they are now.

Adam Hale, Sage People, 50 Game Changers
Adam Hale, Sage People, 50 Game Changers
  1. Give a crap

The true heart of this event is Louize Clarke at Connect TVT and her mission to ‘amplify the voice of innovation in the Thames Valley and keep it on the digital map’. Any successful event needs an authentic core – a positive mission that unites and engages everyone who attends.

Well done to all involved. Here’s to many more Game Changers!