Archives for July 2014

Naughty Networking

The following is a guest post by Communication Coach, and friend of Cambridge Business Lounge, Jon Torrens:

Networking events can be joy or pain:

  1. Meeting real people, who you’d happily spend time with in any almost scenario.

Or:

  1. Soul-destroying encounters with people who you’d happily never speak to again.  

SONY DSCIt doesn’t have to be like that. For Genuinely Enjoyable Networking TM, I adopt the mindset of a rebellious troublemaker. Here’s an example:

On Wednesday at a networking event in Cambridge I met a couple of people who I often see at this kind of event. Because we know each other’s businesses fairly well, we started chatting about, well… stuff: clothes, how long we were going to stay, what we were going to eat that evening. None of which were really anything to do with ‘business’. We weren’t meeting new people, we weren’t making connections, we weren’t networking. We were undermining the whole process and missing precious opportunities, right? But we were having a good time.

Someone we didn’t know joined our rebel base and told us that they were quite nervous about networking (which impressed me – I think declaring your fear to a group of strangers is rather heroic). Immediately I felt that we were like the naughty kids, sitting at the back of the bus and reading comics – we were along for the ride, but we weren’t playing by the rules, and were very happy to take the new kid under our wing to remove all the fear from the situation for them and show that it’s possible to just have fun. It wasn’t deliberate, it happened naturally, and it felt pretty good to be helping someone and to encourage them. For me that’s the whole point.

Don’t make ‘connections’.

Disregard convention. Have fun. Meet people.

You can learn about how to succeed at networking at Network Academy, hosted by Jon Torrens and Ed Goodman. To book your place, click here.