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Procial or Professional Social, that provide an opportunity for socializing without the need to discuss business topics related to that field. It serves as a safe haven for working professionals who experience similar personal challenges and successes. It provides a special chance to commune with others who are separated from the public by their field.

The concept stems from an issue of proprietary intellectual property. In many cases, view points and even the topics themselves are bound by non-disclosure agreements. Professionals who want to participate socially, can do so more easily in a group with a common set of issues and taboos.

Differences from Social Networking Events

A professional networking event has a goal of providing a casual environment for professionals of a similar field to discuss ideas and strategies within their field. Procials on the other hand provide a social setting for professionals of a similar field to discuss everything but the field topics.

There tends to be some confusion between the two, since the attendees and the event names seem to be indistinguishable to new comers. This leads many new attendees into becoming confused or frustrated when they attend with networking goals such as learning professional techniques and/or obtaining job leads.

::For example, a recent journalism graduate might learn of a freelance writer's event and attend it in an effort to find a receptive employer, only to discover that none of the other attendees are willing to provide help or direction. The attendees are writers, but what they want to talk about is everything but writing. It turns out this event is a procial.

Unspoken Rules

Though procials range in field and industry, all procials tend to share similar set of unspoken rules. Rules that tend not to be explained unless in serious agitation. It is therefore beneficial to learn them as quickly as possible. Below are a set of rules that tend to be common within procials:

  • Only attend if you are working professionally in the field.
  • Do not look for a job or discuss unemployment
  • Do not discuss specific projects or events that are proprietary in nature.
  • Do not discuss salary or compensation
  • Do not share tips or techniques that may be considered proprietary in nature.

How to find a Procial

Procials are quite common in Portland. They are not secretive in nature. Since the goal is to involve working professionals, there is always enthusiasm for new attendees. Procials are promoted and announced in many ways. Certain characteristics of how an event is described can identify if it is procial in nature. Here are a few:

  • The event describes attendees as 'working' or 'professional'
  • The event is sponsored by a national special interest group or society.
  • There is an entrance fee.
  • No topics are mentioned in the event description