Networking, a phrase that usually fills me with dread! Last week, the Guardian Small Business Network posted an article that included ‘Naked Networking’, which I know would be two of my worst nightmares rolled into one! However, one of the key things I have found since we established Virtual Angels, is that networking can be very helpful and supportive. I have tried a few networking groups with very different results. Over the next couple of weeks, I thought I would treat you to some of the reactions I have experienced whilst attending the different groups, as I am trialling two or three more over the coming weeks. Then in my final blog on networking, I will list some of the ones that I have found most encouraging, signed up for and will be recommending to you.
First the not so good adventures. Our first foray as Virtual Angels together, was to a mixed networking group based in central London. The person behind the group was brilliant and had invited us along as we had recently established Virtual Angels. While I do understand that one of the main reasons for most people attending a networking event is to engage new or repeat business, I was not prepared for so many eyes glazing over as soon as other attendees found out what we did. Once they realised that we could not offer a huge contract or a lead, they quickly moved onto another group, rarely even saying good to meet you before they shot off!
Attending solo at a women only event where the chair of the group spent most of the meeting on her phone, being more excited about social media than running the meeting.
Turning up at another organised event where I was the only person there, not even the organiser attended.
These experiences have made me more aware and selective about the events I plan to attend and I am beginning to ‘enjoy’ the whole process. I will update you in a couple of weeks on what happens next! What has happened to you while networking? Feel free to share your experiences too.