What Should You Drink At A Professional Networking Event?


A networking event can put you touch with everyone from hiring managers and recruiters to company heads, all of whom might be a valuable lead for an entry level or early career job.

Like any smart job seeker, you’ll look your most professional, with well-maintained and tasteful attire, every hair in place and shoes that pair style with comfort – you can’t network when your feet hurt.

However, you may have overlooked an important accessory that can send even more signals than your wardrobe: the drink in your hand can say a lot about you, or even act as a serious barrier to effective networking.


Beer is a safe bet. It’s conventional, relaxed and has the right amount of “work-after-work” feeling to it.

Also, if you’re at an event for several hours, no one will begrudge you having more than one.


A martini perfectly captures the goal of a networking function: make a very strong impression in a very short time.

However, you may find it hard to close a promising conversation when you can’t find your business cards…or your wallet…or your shoes, for that matter.

Mixed drinks

Since these drinks are small in size, it’s deceptively easy to wind up with a glass full of ice, which can be distracting, particularly if you find yourself in a crowd with no table in sight.

If this is your particular poison, ask for a watered-down one in a highball glass, not a squat rocks glass. You want to be sure your drink has staying power.


Wine is the popular go-to drink for networking functions. You’ll avoid the bloated feeling that can come with beer, while radiating class and sophistication (sip, don’t gulp, junior).

White wine is always a safer bet, as red wine has a nasty reputation for staining: fabric, teeth, moral character, you name it.


While there’s nothing wrong with a cocktail, networking bars are usually pretty rudimentary, and there’s often a line behind you.

Avoid anything that involves “construction.” This isn’t the moment to demonstrate your knowledge of mixology or argue with the bartender about how to make a Velvet Horseshoe.



Just don’t.


Though many find a drink helps them relax and ease into a casual event, it’s important to consider the various merits of water.

Water will not only be free at most networking events, it will help you ensure you keep a level head and stay hydrated for the all hand-shaking and card-swapping.

You’ll never know what small decisions can spark conversations, and which conversations could lead to great job opportunities. Something as small as a shared favourite drink could lead to big things. You can’t read minds, but you can avoid some obvious drink don’ts.

What do you usually drink at networking events?

About the author

Elias Da Silva-Powell is a Content, Marketing and Community Specialist at TalentEgg, as well as a two-time graduate of Queen's University. An avid bow-titan, he has been trying to bring whimsical neck wear back into the mainstream since 2008. He's around on Twitter: @EDSPowell and you can check out his profile on LinkedIn, and even G+.

Join the discussion