We woke up this morning, a little bleary-eyed after a wonderful night of networking to find the following message in our inbox. It was so complimentary and warmly written, that we thought we had to share it with you! And in case you’re wondering, we’ve been guaranteed a little air conditioning next time around…!
Without putting too fine a point on it, tonight was my ‘first time’. I’ve attended many networking events over the years but tonight I popped my ‘I Am Networking‘ event cherry. And wow!
How refreshing it was to be in a room full of people with a shared energy and passion; where, despite the (ahem) lack of functioning air-con, the heat was definitely on. I have never encountered such friendly and engaging people in this type of environment. My experience to date is of that awkward badge-reading moment when someone peers (too) closely at your chest, proffers a sweaty and limp hand to shake and breathes cheap wine over you.
I have been at these functions where the sole objective is to talk to as many people as possible, almost like a speed-dating event, grab a business card and the delegate list and go. I’ve also attended networking lunches which are truly uncomfortable and where people have no idea how to enter into and back out of conversations, whilst also juggling the social nicety of holding a plate of nasty food, a glass of warm wine, a knife and fork and nodding sagely – all at the same time.
Back to the Westminster Hub however where the wine was plentiful and good quality; where the guest speaker was natural and interesting and where the crowd were engaged enough to ask intelligent questions. I hooked up with a handful of people and exchanged views and information in a relaxed way and where I felt under no pressure to thrust a business card in their face nor to swap numbers and empty promises.
I was really impressed and wonder what the secret is? A large number of facilitators perhaps? A crowd with a genuine and shared desire to network in the true sense? A firm leadership in the shape of Julian and Debbie? I don’t know the answers but I did leave with a renewed energy and my mojo very firmly intact. I can’t wait til the next one!
We’re very aware that our events wouldn’t be half as successful as they are if it weren’t for the supreme efforts of a great group of friends and supporters – and in particular we’d like to thank Anthony, Glenn, Helen, Kirsten, Lubica and Magali who made everything run so smoothly, Jo Birch-Phaure (@JoBirchPhaure) for an inspirational challenge to raise our Twitter game, and special thanks to Rainer Knappe for his photographic skills. Here’s to next month – see you then!