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Private Clubs in London: Networking in Style for Business Elites

With all the recent furore in the United Kingdom over the members of the Garrick Club, specifically the absolute dearth of women in the membership rolls and how this could be potentially blocking women from vital access to experts and leaders in various industries and aspects of government, it can be surprising to see private clubs being touted as an excellent place to network while you are in London on business. Let’s have a look at why private clubs are actually a great place to invest your time – and when they are not! 

What Makes a Good Club? 

Obviously, when you are staying in London, whether in a hotel or serviced apartment (check out some London luxury serviced apartments here to see what your options are), you want to choose a club that is close to your home-away-from-home so that you can pop in every evening to see who is there, make new acquaintances and firm up old friendships. You should also look for a club that has facilities in which you are interested: swimming pools, reading rooms, various speakers on subjects of interest to the membership are all the sorts of amenities that private social clubs have, as well as still maintaining those areas much beloved of those who hanker for the days of Jeeves and Wooster – the silent reading room, packed with comfy chairs, bookshelves and the likelihood of tuts and frowns should any disturb the tranquility of the room! If you are to do business at the club, make sure you do so in one of the areas that are not designated as silent reading or snoozing spaces!

What to Avoid 

Obviously, as the Garrick has found out to their cost, you will want to avoid any clubs that ooze of excess privilege (paying a fee to belong is one thing, paying a king’s ransom quite another!) or that practice any form of discrimination against religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or even post code. You should also avoid clubs that do not allow new members to mix freely with older members – this will entirely negate the point of your possibly short-term membership, making it impossible to hammer out the finer points of your deal or meet people with whom you might be able to do business later on.

How to Make the Most of Your Time at the Club 

When you first sign up at the club, make sure you read the rules and regulations carefully – you don’t want to fall afoul of the other members on your first visit – and stick to them. When you have ascertained the best time to go along, be prompt but not excessively early, and be polite and engaged without being pushy. It will feel a little like your first day at a new school, and that is exactly the right way to think about it! However, if you succeed in making a good impression, you will be regarded very favourably by the other members, many of whom will be powerful people in good positions to boost your fledgling or growing business.