Networking - some excel at it, but for others it can be painfully awkward. Love it or hate it, most experts agree the most connected people are often the most successful.The Milkshake Club, a monthly informal networking platform open to everyone, takes the edge off what could be a stressful experience and replaces it with a whole lot of sweetness.Held on the last Wednesday of each month from 17:00 to 19:00 at the Vineyard’s Garden Lounge in Newlands, the networking event offers the perfect opportunity for business people who might find it difficult to network during the day.The Milkshake Club was the direct result of a chance meeting between Ives Manel, a teacher at Fairmount Secondary School, and Malcolm Lips from Charles Winshaw, an authorised financial services provider, at another networking event arranged by Business Networking International (BNI).The plan to create an informal networking platform began to take shape after another chance encounter - this time with a milkshake.Having enjoyed lunch at the Garden Lounge, Sharon Constable, also from Charles Winshaw, Lips and Lorna Shields, a freelance writer from Profiles Content, were in the mood for a milkshake.“We asked our hostess Bongi (Bongiswa Sindelo) if they were any good, and she gave us a look that said, ‘Look at where you are? Of course!’”Constable says it was the best milkshake they ever had. The club, and its name, was born right there.“And Bongi is now part of our family. She, together with Odette Sprinkle, make all of the milkshakes for the guests at the event that can be up to 70 per evening.”What started as a monthly meeting for business professionals quickly grew into a learning opportunity for learners. Constable explains: “About three months after our first meeting, Faried Jones brought his six-year-old daughter Willow along. We realised that this could be a chance for learners to experience first-hand how networking is done.” A group of learners from Fairmount Secondary School attended the next meeting, loved it and now attend every meeting.“The professional world can be quite daunting to someone entering the job market for the first time. To give learners an insight into the career opportunities out there, we asked one of our regular attendees, Richard Hardy of Knight Frank, international real estate agents, to give a talk,” says Constable.Hardy would be the first of many. Liz Henry, the owner of Time Personnel, a recruitment agency in Century City, spoke at the most recent event held on Wednesday 28 August. She gave learners advice on how to prepare a proper CV. Megan Neal, a recruitment specialist also from the agency, shared tips on how to present yourself at an interview.Michael Curry runs the Filmmakers Club at the school. A video is made at each meeting and posted on the club’s Facebook page.Constable says they have seen the impact exposure to events like these can have on learners’ confidence. “Trystan Turner (13) from Fairburn College attended one of our events. She was painstakingly shy. I said to her, ‘Just walk up to someone. Ask them who they are and what they do’.“A month later, that same girl stood up in front of everyone at the club and told them of how her networking experience had given her the confidence to speak to learners from other schools at a youth camp.”The next meeting will take place on Wednesday 25 September.For more information, email Sharon Constable at email@example.com.