With two kids and a business to run I don’t get much time to network, but in December 2014 I discovered Business in Heels’ bayside branch in Brighton and it’s been on my calendar ever since. It fits into my schedule nicely as it’s only once a month on a Wednesday evening, so it doesn’t cut into business hours – important for me as I struggle to fit everything into my work day as it is!
There are a lot of networking groups around town – and I have only tried out a very small number – but Business In Heels really resonates with me because I can mix with like-minded women who in most cases are also running their own businesses and dealing with the same issues I face. Often juggling kids like I am too. And it’s always good to be able to talk to other women experiencing similar things. It’s an extremely social environment where we chat over a glass of wine or bubbles, and there’s always a great speaker. Oh and of course there’s the goodie bag you get to take home – who doesn’t love a goodie bag! Basically BIH is a networking night where you can build potential work relationships but there is a strong focus on the social side – I have built some very strong friendships out of the bayside branch as well as great business opportunities.
At last week’s BIH there was a panel discussion on the topic of … networking! Suzanne Chadwick, Dhea Bartlett, and Jo Plummer, an Executive Director of Business in Heels, were our experts and gave some great tips – and reminders – for all of us to take home. Here are my favourites:
1 – Don’t spread yourself too thin. If you don’t have a lot of time, just pick one or two groups that resonate with you and stick to those. Most networking events also cost money so don’t forget to factor them into your budget – make sure you can afford the cash as well as the time.
2 – Try not to just ask people about their work. Be interested in their lives outside of their job. That’s often when the best conversations happen.
3 – Give back. Support others, offer advice and help them out when you can. Refer people you meet to your friends.
On the same night there was also a great presentation by Ebru on her makeup range Marquage. She showed us how by just using two products you can be ready to “Face the World in 60 Seconds”. Seriously!
And I also had the opportunity to speak to everyone about the importance of branding, with a few quick tips on how to take a great selfie thrown in. It was a great night with lots of laughs and positive energy. Even though I have to admit I sometimes head to BIH nights feeling exhausted and ready for bed, I always leave energised, smiling, and looking forward to the next one!