As a colleague of ours once said “are we networking or notworking?” (thanks Andy)
It’s an interesting balance to get right, when does networking become notworking? In discovering what is right for our company we have attended a number of different events, all of which have their merits and all work to one extent or another. Finding out what works for you is what counts. You have to learn as you go along, and take good advice along the way.
I’d like to highlight the ones that work for us.
Those mentioned are by no means a comprehensive list of what is available in our region (Sheffield and Yorkshire) or a reflection on any other event that we haven’t been to or don’t refer to.
Please only take these as our experiences, not a definitive guide.
NoshNetworking – A weekly event organised by Fiona and Andy from The IT Trainer and chaired by Andy. The event is refreshingly independent, friendly and unpretentious. I often feel that it’s more like a helpful gathering of like-minded business people than pure networking. The emphasis is on building business relationships. Referrals happen naturally. Andy runs a round the table introduction with questions open to the group. The local business’ represented are a good mix of skills and sectors.
Held at Nosh on Division st Sheffield every Monday morning it’s a great start to the week. The team at Nosh are now more than used to our group and provide excellent service first thing in the morning when most of us are still bleary-eyed and still waking up.
You can follow the group on Twitter at #noshnet
I genuinely enjoy catching up with everyone each week, even at 7am in the middle of winter.
NoshNetworking is by invitation, for more info contact Fiona or Andy firstname.lastname@example.org
You can catch up with the events on Twitter, Phil from @envision4biz recently took to updating the group via #noshnet
The Firm Networking group is growing and now has fortnightly events in Sheffield, Rotherham, Derby and Chesterfield with more to follow. The reason it’s growing so well is no doubt down to the driving force behind it, Alan Fenn from Compass Distribution.
The events have a corporate feel, with a local edge, built on a strong core group of members that work hard at promoting the events and ensuring they run well. The ethos behind the events is to focus on how each attendee can help the group. Each group leader encourages those attending to find connections and referrals for each other. Alan has always preached about specifics in defining what or who you need a contact with. And it works, it’s not unusual for a business to highlight particular connections they’ve been looking for, only to find them sitting right next to them.
Alan and the team are full of ideas and always looking to make a difference at the events. In the past there have been local celebrity “cook off”, guest speakers and various breakfast specials.
Each event is £10 per attendee and no membership fees. Usual start time is 7am for coffee, 7.30 networking commences till approximately 8.30 with freedom to continue making connections after the event.
For more information, while the website is being constructed, the best resource is Linkedin and simply search for The Firm. Each section has it’s group leader.
Alternatively you can contact Alan via twitter
A friendly networking event organised and run by Heather and John from Training Ventures. Held every first Friday of the month (the clue is in the name) at Aizlewood Mill, Sheffield. They host a welcoming and friendly networking experience, usually accompanied by delicious side food, usually coinciding with the time of the year or season.
I often think of this event as perfect for experienced networkers and those dipping their toe in to the murky waters of networking. Its a very relaxed and informal atmosphere, people are free to mingle as they please. The venue is Training Ventures training suite, an open room with soft settees if you need a one to one or just to rest your legs a while. We’ve met some great contacts there and continue to mark the date on our calendar.
With a good core group of attendees, your guaranteed to hook up with someone you know and find a new business to get to know.
The event runs from 2.30pm to 4.30pm, costs £5 including tea, coffee etc and food. Any stragglers or those not dashing of home often continue building relations (hic!) over a drink at the next door pub, The Harlequin.