Very Very Expensive Coffee or Networking – Even Further Thoughts…..

Very Very Expensive Coffee or Networking – Even Further Thoughts…..

Jun 27
Very Very Expensive Coffee or Networking – Even Further Thoughts…..


I recently attended a fabulous networking event.  It was well organised and hosted and the coffee wasn’t bad!  The event cost me £10, plus getting out of bed a bit earlier than normal but not at any outrageous hour. 

At the event I could have had Tea, Coffee, Juice as well as Bacon roll or Sausage roll.  At that time of the morning I had a couple of cups of coffee, I didn’t have anything to eat.  for 2 reasons 1) its a pain to balance a bag, hot cup of coffee a plate and try and eat at the same time.  2) I wanted to talk to people, some who had alerted me to their attendance before the event and who I knew wanted to chat.  Others Clients and other contacts I had not seen for a while.

Very Very Expensive Coffee

So you could argue that I paid £5 each for each coffee I had and that this is pretty expensive coffee.  Indeed I understand that there had been some mumbling from an attendee that they had paid £10 for a coffee and a bacon roll,and ‘It’s just not on.’ [Thank you sir / madam – you inspired this blog post]
Is it fair to judge a networking event in this way?  I bet you can guess my thoughts already!
No it is not fair.  Surely you don’t attend a networking event just to swill coffee and scarf back bacon rolls, well I don’t!  I attend for a number of reasons.
1) To catch up with contacts, to see if I can help them with anything
2) To meet new contacts and introduce myself and my business and introduce them to contacts I may have that mmight be useful to them.
3) To talk to and learn about what is going on locally in business.
4) If there is a speaker to listen and learn from them.

Justifying the cost or ROI

So how do you justify the amount you pay for networking?  I would argue that this is surely that is partly up to you and not the organiser.  You have to be prepared to ‘work the room.’  If you are so inclined to think about it in this way (I’d encourage you not to) to get your £10 worth!  Networking simply is NOT about getting into a room of people and asking them to buy what you have on offer.  It IS about building relationships with people and engaging with them.  Learning about other people and how they do things.  The moment you stop trying to sell to everyone you meet in the room at a networking event you will notice the shift in people’s attitudes to you.  Networking is not a short term plan.  It is a long term investment, it is necessary to stick at it.  Get yourself and your face known for the right reasons.  Be consistent and if, for you, it means joining a networking group then that’s great. However don’t neglect other groups just because you are a member of 1.  You never know what you might miss.  This all goes along with my general ‘Networking’ philosophy you never know who the people in the room know, everyone should be considered an ally (to start with at least.)

Next Time

So next time you are asked to pay £10, £15 or more for a Networking event, perhaps focus less on how to get your money’s worth out of the food and drink on offer and more on the value you can add to your network and subsequently your business by talking to the people in the room, who they are as well as what they do.  Consider that £10 a long term investment.  Is a couple of cups of coffee worth £10?  Perhaps not BUT gaining a new client or arranging an appointment that might lead to something else really and truly is.


  1. I was at the same event and it never crossed my mind what I was paying for. I just knew that I wanted to go and that £10 seems to be the going rate around here. If it had been £20 for a coffee and bacon roll would I have gone? I’m not sure, the organiser would have to justify why they think they can charge that much. I have paid £20 for a cooked breakfast before but wouldn’t do it on a regular basis.
    As I organise a number of networking event across the county I know the issues there can be trying to keep the cost down and convincing the venue not to include room hire on the cost.
    I would therefore be interested to know what the cut-off point is that someone would pay for a group that they attend regularly and a group they drop into occasionally.

  2. Agree with Emma — £10 with no membership fees and no commitment and no online booking in advance is fair and reasonable for effectively being able to turn up unannounced and pitch your business to 35 like mined business people no matter where it is. A great opportunity for someone in business to get to know people as well. As it happens this particular event had a vague 13 or so rsvp and 35 arrived on the day. From a catering perspective it was a challenge. This was the first ever networking event at this awesome venue. They did very well to cope with numbers given the food ordered for the event. Obviously a future meeting would have a few tweaks to make it even better value on the catering issue. I am a firm believer of the venue, food and drink being a key ingredient to the “weary traveler”. The “what’s in it for me” factor has to be nice food and drink as people have made an effort to get up early and travel. The venue is also crucial as people need to have nice clean amenities and a nice atmosphere. The meetings are perfect for a lot of casual chat which is where people do make the contacts that could be good for business in or outside the room. Its not just who is in the room – its who they might know so as Emma says you needto work the room. All this for £10 once a month with no pressure — a bargain I say!

  3. Here’s what I think about the cost of networking events:

    Make them free or cheap for first time attendees who’d like to try them out.
    Set the price for everyone else as high as possible and give any surplus to charity.

    This will have the effect of keeping away the people like the ones you mention Emma, who just don’t get what networking is all about and expect to swan in, bore everyone to death (and put other people off coming again) and go away with sales.

    Open, pay as you go networking is a brilliant opportunity and those of us who have been around a while know who the offenders are who consistently book and don’t turn up, leaving the organiser to pay for unconsumed food. Almost as bad are those who turn up unannounced and expect to be fed. It may be that these two groups cancel each other out but the fact remains that this behaviour is just plain rude and shows no consideration for others.

    Would you do business with people who don’t posses common courtesy or who are so penny pinching that they are probably going to be a pain in the backside if you do?

    As I said, open networking is a great opportunity but I think there’s a lot to be said for dropping people from the invitation list who add no value to the event.

  4. Luca

    Whilst I feel that the quality of whatever is provided at any event is important, it definitely should not be the focus of the event unless the event itself is about that “whatever”.

    Networking events are about networking and, although it may be okay to point out the quality of one or more aspects of one event, if I (and this is my personal opinion) ever hear somebody complaining about the fact that £10 was wasted to get a coffee and a roll, I would most definitely move on and talk to somebody else in the room. Coffee talk during business meeting is not my cup of tea 😉

    I agree with the fact that networking is about building relationships, familiarity with other people serious about doing business and not about coffees and rolls.

    But this is just me… 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Wordpress SEO Plugin by SEOPressor