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.


  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.

Full of Surprises – What is the key to good communication?


This is guest post from Communication Coach, Jon Torrens

What is the key to good communication? 

Is it clarity? Brevity? Sincerity? Well, certainly those are all important (and people who have mastered them will give great presentations and network more smoothly than Bradley Cooper in an Armani dressing gown). However, I believe those elements can be trumped by something else:


Being able to surprise people is vital in communication if you’re to keep people engaged. If slick, well-dressed, professional speaker/presenter/networker #1 is saying conventional things with the same old perspective as everyone else, then shabby, shambolic speaker/presenter/networker #2 will outshine them by simply saying (pleasant) things that people don’t expect, with an unusual angle. If they also toss in some humour, then boom! #1 is forgotten, gone, a relic.

(And don’t think for a moment you can’t be original or creative. We all have creativity inside us, and under the right circumstances, it will flow naturally. What you have to do is find the way to let it do just that. It might be by putting yourself under pressure, it might be by removing all pressure; whatever it is, find it.)

Some people have watched hundreds of presentations and been to hundreds of networking events. They’ve got used to the expected phrases, patterns and styles, and as soon as they experience them again, their souls start to wither. Be original, and you’ll add a little spark to the proceedings.

Win the crowd. Give them something they have never seen before.

Jon Torrens will be hosting a workshop: Killer Presenting – Achieve a Comedian’s Confidence on 15th July. To book your place, CLICK HERE