I have been writing recently about my networking adventures and this time would like to talk about some of the groups I have either joined or attend regularly.
The first is the Athena Network, which I joined in October of last year after visiting the group in September. I cannot believe that it is almost a year ago…..where does the time go? The Athena Network is a women only group that meets monthly, for two hours, over lunch. I have joined the Athena City and West Essex group run by Stella Fehmi, networker extraordinaire! The group is extremely supportive and I experienced a good feeling on my very first visit. While standing up and introducing myself, explaining what we do: all in a minute, I still find tricky, it is becoming easier as I go along and am managing to control my beetroot complexion more and more, though don’t always succeed!
Following on from joining Athena, I began to broaden my networking and went along to SEEN and Being Heard. South East Entrepreneurs Network is an informal networking group for businesses in the Blackheath, Lewisham and Greenwich area and surrounds. SEEN is co-run by Jilly Clark, who I met through Athena. We meet on a Tuesday evening over a drink or two, there isn’t a membership or visitor fee, just turn up. Jilly is a fantastic networker and I am learning hints and tips from her along my networking journey.
With the help of some safe networking, going along to groups where I know someone, I have also taken the plunge and gone solo to other events in my area. Cooking with Scissors meets in East Dulwich monthly, again a mixed group of local businesses, who share their experiences and support each other.
A new group that I went along to in Victoria one evening, surprised me with two of my Athena group also attending. We turn up in the most ‘likely’ places!
If you are nervous about networking, I recommend chatting to someone that you know and going along to an event together to start with. Even though I went to Athena alone, it was after Holly persuading (aka nagging!) me to try a group in my area as she had already joined one locally.
I know I have a way to go before I am an experienced networker, though I am enjoying my journey and the experiences along the way. I will check back in a few weeks time with another update.