I attended two very contrasting networking events last week to talk about effective communication skills – web content writing, blogging and social media. The first was an extremely early breakfast club deep in the heart of Essex, and the second a drunken (not me of course), very enjoyable afternoon in the city. So how do you quantify the benefits of one type of event over another? Well, unprofessional and maybe a bit childish, I know, but I usually start with what they feed me… The breakfast cost £10, I spoke for 60 seconds about plain English writing and training, exchanged business cards with 30 people I didn’t really have time to bond with, and served myself egg and not-so-crispy-bacon and a glass of orange juice. The Doyle Club afternoon in Liverpool Street was free and I was given the most amazing sausages and a big bowl of chunky chips, which I shared (of course) with my networking buddies Jason and Ian, and new friend Hanna – who claims she can make me look ten years younger for only £355.
Now, the breakfast club revolves around people finding recommendations for their fellow members, which is fantastic, and obviously works very well, judging by what I witnessed. The people were great and I am indebted to Paul the Plumber for walking half a mile along a dusty track to rescue me when my satnav plonked me down in a field next to a cemetery and told me I had arrived!! But on the other hand, Ian (who incidentally is my most favourite magician) went around the wine bar telling about 70 property and construction industry specialists how great I am at writing for websites – which was really very nice to hear. (Thank you Ian x) So should I commit to getting out of bed at 5am (yes, you heard correctly) once a week to become part of a successful referrals group with a fried breakfast, or stick to the lunchtime-into-evening wine and perfectly cooked sausages on sticks and casual chatting? It’s definitely less like working and more like laughing with friends. Plus the ten-years-younger thing obviously appeals… What do you think?
Incidentally, I never was a city girl. Most people don’t even realise London is two cities. The fantastic Dragon and Flagon historic London pub crawl confirmed that. An array of pubs – Tudor, Elizabethan, vaulted ceilings, deep dark cellars, art nouveau copper reliefs, Sweeny Todd and windy cobbled streets – along with Vic’s amusing narrative – you should book yourself onto it! (Especially you, Deedub – you’ll love it!) And if you do, my advice is don’t wear pink stillettos – my feet still hurt two weeks later!! Anyway, the City of London was never my hangout; it was always the city of Westminster. Gill and I were well and truly west end girls and, in our hearts, I guess we still are. As they say: ‘We’ve got no future, we’ve got no past, here today, built to last. In every city, in every nation, From Lake Geneva to the Finland station. How far have you been?’ Actually I have been to Finland… not sure where I’m going next, but wherever it is, feel free to follow me there: @WeekendWitch