Networking isn’t really my thing…

I have been to a few networking events, and to be honest, I am always slightly terrified before going. Working on my own I can’t show up with a team mate and then cling to each other. So I find myself awkwardly standing in a corner, desperately looking for a familiar face. Luckily, Guernsey being a small-ish place, there is usually someone there that I know well enough to chat to. But that is not the point, is it?

No, you’re meant to put yourself out there, make connections, talk business and hand out business cards. I had some new business cards printed recently, so when I saw bestof Guernsey advertising a networking event for small businesses I decided it was time to find some people to hand my nice new cards to.

On arrival I found my first familiar friendly face and started chatting. I noticed two long lines of chairs positioned opposite each other. I didn’t take much notice, until the event leader asked everyone to sit down. What was this? Usually everybody just kind of milled about , had a coffee or two and left again. But no, this was a speed networking event, like dating but for businesses. I know this is nothing new at all, but to me it was.

We all took our places, I found myself opposite another lady. One of us was meant to talk for two minutes about our business, then the other one, then move on to the next person.
The bell went, I didn’t really know what to say, so I gave her one of my business cards. I then went on to mumble something about a small design agency for small to medium-sized businesses. Been doing it for 11 years on Guernsey now. Yes, business is good, I’m busy. A sigh of relief when the bell went again.
Now it was her turn, she didn’t do much better than me. You could definitely see who had done this kind of thing before and who hadn’t. I guess some people are much more at ease with selling themselves than others are.

I made my way through the first few pitches and slowly started to feel more at ease. I noticed how I got my pitch much more precise after a few times, and by the end it rolled off my tongue easily. Now the really amazing thing was, that having to think about my business and explaining it to others, made me think about what I do in a different way. Yes, there was my core business, but there were so many other things that I do as well. So trying to get all that down in a two minute pitch, meant I had to think, and think quickly.

By the time I had introduced AB Design to 15 strangers and answered their questions I felt pretty good about myself and my business, and more to the point, it gave me new ideas and ways of approaching things. I’m not sure if I will get any business out of the networking event, but attending did three things for me:

  1. I got my name out there and a few more people now know about my business
  2. I got to show off my new business cards
  3. I really got to think and develop my business in one morning.

So watch out for some new developments within AB Design soon.