The Continuing Networking Saga – The Confessions of a Reformed Character

I’m at it again folks!  Relentlessly throwing myself around.  Last week three networking events (including one with royalty), one arts show and this week two events on the same day and one other as well.  And yes I fit some actual getting down to it “work” in between these activities 🙂
Did I ever tell you I was the shy retiring type?  OK, not quite, but unlike some I am not a natural networker.  However, I’m always willing to learn and am trying hard. (Points anyone?) I’m a doer rather than a meeting/committee persona so sticking around to have a chat isn’t part of my routine. 
My cunning plan to teach myself to take part and play nice?  Simple – keen observation and taking many (many many) mental notes from those who are (appear to be?) naturals at the schmooze.
In the three years since I started the adventure I will call self-employment (making a living by the skin of my teeth), I have learned to enter a room, talk knowledgeably and enthusiastically to people I don’t know, and even better! listen attentively to what they have to say.  I’ve come a long way baby!
Manchester – 2009 – Me before I learned how to behave 🙂
No more fleeing for the door, hanging back, propping up the walls and talking relentless over people (I used to need to be done first so I could leave before anyone asked me anything).
Yes, its odd how challenging its been. All my working life, I’ve always been in charge managing departments, services, and generally sorting out stuff and things for others.  Up until self employment I could always hide behind my employers’ apron strings.  Its different when it just you that’s out there.
Reading Festival – 2010 – how I used to feel about networking , a bit shaky!

Lessons to be learned from this blog.  If I can do it, anyone can do it. 

For me there are two tricks to becoming an effective networker.  Keep breathing and keep doing it. See!  Simple.

It gets even better and easier once you start integrating social media with networking.  You can meet online via Twitter and LinkedIn and the more you take part in the online conversation, the more you will be involved in the real one.  You’ll go to events and meet people you already “know’. 

At this point I will once again apologies and plug my Twitter guru Karen Thorne proprietor of Hopton House B and B.  “Yes, Karen you were right”.  The skeptic admits she was wrong!  Honestly this time last year I just thought this was a bunch of new stuff I didn’t need to do ‘cause it would go away.  I can learn.

Oh and the royalty I mentioned.  That would have been HRH Prince Charles at the Start UK event in Birmingham.  Wearing one of my other hats, I’m the Project Manager for Stretton Climate Care.   

Millenium Point Birmingham – 2010 – low carbon vehicles
We were invited to the help launch a new initiative which encourages everyone to save the world (again!).  With my best networking game on, I chatted up one of Prince Charles’s aids (sorry if I’ve demoted you!)  and although we weren’t on the “approved” list, he came over to our stand, had a chat and shook our hands. 
Honest that’s Prince Charles on the far left! – 2010
And yes it was a big deal and yes I did feel he was genuinely engaged.
Back to my trials and tribulations with networking –  honestly. I’ve come a looooonnngggg way. (Disclaimer and Apologies to any out there who don’t think I’ve been getting any better.  I’m like art, a work in progress)
Thanks to all for your patience.
Paris – 2007 – Me and art have a lot in common


2 thoughts on “The Continuing Networking Saga – The Confessions of a Reformed Character

  1. Cool post 🙂 Networking isn't a goal to be achieved though, is it? It's more of an approach, "what can I achieve from being here/with these people/in this group" etc etc. Schmooze is a good word because, like network, its a verb and implies a future tense (I WILL schmoose, they WILL get schmoosed by me…) or an ongoing experience. Networking is always about the next opportunity to network. A meets B, who introduces A to C,D and E who invite A to conference D where A meets G who….etc etc etc… I look upon it more as a hobby or a metaphor for viral transmission but with breaks for coffee…See you at a Jelly!Phill

  2. Aah, but I love the Julie that just talks and talks… I could certainly use some pointers on networking tho' I think I've got the breathing down. (sorry that's a yoga in-joke) Keep up the hard work it will pay off.

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