Next Level Networking: See How Dallas’ The Network Bar Is Re-Envisioning Professional Connections
Networking is an essential part of career growth and discovering new opportunities for professionals. However, it’s not as easy as showing up at an event and hoping to meet the right people. Traditional networking events often leave attendees nervous and discouraged. They rush to meet everyone they can, hoping to make a connection with someone in their field. There is a tremendous amount of pressure that often ends in limited results.
New Approach to Networking
The Network Bar has a new approach to networking, one that merges technology with in-person connections. The Network Bar has re-envisioned what networking can be, and Dallas professionals are responding. The concept celebrated its first anniversary on Oct. 24 and currently has over 1,200 members.
What makes this community so unique?
“Membership is exclusive to business professionals who bring value to the table, and it’s diverse by industry, generation, and gender. We’ve created the ideal environment for professionals who want to connect with one another and make things happen,” Shell Koontz, Director of Marketing for The Network Bar, said.
Shell, a veteran of networking events, also shared what she sees as the biggest difference between The Network Bar’s strategy and an average corporate mixer.
“Most networking events are all about the pressure to find someone that is a good connection,” she said. “It’s tense, and attendees usually leave feeling frustrated. When members are in our space, they are with other professionals who want to talk and help each other. Plus, it’s easy to find the right connections with our app.”
The Network Bar App: Technology Introduces Members to Ideal Connections
One innovative way The Network Bar uses technology is through its member app. Members, all of whom are granted access to the app on their phones, actually use it as access to the space. The app is much more than just an key card though, it has profiles of all the members.
“It’s like our own closed network version of LinkedIn where profiles are shared, connections made, and messages exchanged. We also use it the app to communicate to members about events and make special announcements,” partner David Romano explained.
The app is very LinkedIn-like, except it is a more targeted list of professionals in the Dallas area. Members use it to connect and collaborate. It has information like work history, education, and interests. Members can request to connect with a profile, message connections, and view feeds.
“It bridges the virtual with the physical. Most professionals under 30 are digital natives and rely on technology to meet others and communicate. Once they’ve made a connection online, it makes the offline conversation much easier. It’s really a merging of old-school networking and online connections,” Romano said.
The app and the concept itself represent an improved pathway for millennials to feel less anxious about face-to-face interaction. Since they are prone to use social networks versus in-person events, The Network Bar allows them to do both.
About the Space
Opportunities await members and that’s why they join. Technology plays a vital role in the actual space as well. The 7,000-square-foot space is more than a restaurant or social hangout. It includes private meeting rooms that have all the latest technology and AV equipment needed to present ideas or pitches with ease.
It’s truly an idea hub with well-appointed furnishings and state-of-the-art technology. Even the food itself features brain-boosting snacks so that members are in a creative frame of mind.
The concept is certainly changing the Dallas professional landscape with new ideas launched and hires made.
“Just the other day I heard from a member about how glad he was to meet another member and hoped to be bringing him on board with his company soon,” Shell added.
How The Network Bar Is Making an Impact
“The idea for the concept was really to make a difference in the networking space and to then enable return on relationships to our members,” Romano said. “They don’t have to waste time or be unsure about who they should interact with. They have the ability to first meet online based on synergies then meet in person to share ideas and learn from one another.”
The Network Bar certainly has the opportunity to expand. The innovative business model is not unique to the Dallas market alone.
“The concept is ideal for any large metro area that has a healthy economy and workforce. There is definitely a place for this concept beyond Dallas. For now, we’ve had an amazing response here and expect our membership to keep growing,” Shell said.