Monday, 5 September 2011

The Birth of the Brownies....

Make sure you enjoy networking is the first major point to all this. If you don't enjoy walking up to a perfect stranger in a crowded room, towering over them (as I do being 6ft tall and 6ft 3” in heels) interrupting a conversation and simply saying “How do you do” I wouldn't suggest you try it....

If you don't mind all of that however, and you like the idea, then all you need is a little push in the right direction. In our case it was another organiser of a networking event that let us down one to many times that gave us the push.....

After the nightmare of dealing with a contact who wanted to set up their own meeting, but then cancelling last minute and letting lots of people down, Christine Cooper and I decided to go it alone.

One day whilst doing a walk around of the businesses on the industrial estates around Canterbury letting everyone know how wonderful the Best Western Abbots Barton Hotel (http://www.abbotsbartonhotel.com/
) is Christine was telling me about a few things she used to do when in the Brownies. I was amazed, and also a little jealous as I was never allowed to be a Brownie due to my height. Apparently even producing your birth certificate back in those days to prove I was of the correct age wasn’t enough, my mum learned this as she was swiftly informed by the Brown Owl that “Your daughter is far to tall, and wont fit in, she will have to wait and join the Girl Guides.” Please don't feel too bad about it though, it only took me 28 years to get over ;)
I did however explain this to Christine who did feel sorry for me, and we jokingly mentioned our networking breakfast should be called, The Brownies, but that was as far as it went....

Finally by the end of our epic walk of Canterbury we had decided we would launch our own meeting. The facts were:

It would take place at the end of every month.
It would only cost £8 per person on a pay as you go basis.
It would be open to everyone.
It would be a healthy continental breakfast.
It would be interesting and relevant to everyone who attends.
It would have a great speaker at every meeting.
It will be made up of what the businesses attending want and we can adapt and change freely as and when needed.

As we arrived back at the hotel and made ourselves a cup of tea to get over the exercise we walked past the hotels chef, who politely asked if we would like to try a cake he had just taken out of the oven. Never people to turn down such an offer you can imagine the look that Christine & I gave each other when he produced us each with a delicious Chocolate Brownie! Well that was it, the networking group was born....Now to launch it!

June, June would be the month we took our first steps into the exciting world of hosting our own Breakfast Networking Group. We spread the word, we booked a great speaker, we got the attendees and it happened! The first meeting was a success, and everyone enjoyed themselves.

Our format is to start at 7am, chat and have a cup of tea until 7.25am. Everyone sits down then and tucks into their breakfast, a lovely continental and of course those now famous Chocolate Brownies. Everyone gets a chance to stand up and introduce themselves and their business, which is followed by a break and another chance to chat to those in the room and hopefully do some business! Around 8.15am we then settle down to a 20 minute talk from our speaker, they cover all topics and encourage debates, which are then followed by questions and the close of the meeting. Needless to say many stay behind after the meeting to continue networking!

We are now over a year on the meeting is still running, and has a wide range of people attending. We have fun and we do some serious business. We help each other out and discuss issues and ideas.

Due to the success of the meetings we have launched in Folkestone and in Eastbourne, and these too are going well.

If you want to try networking, or have never been to such an event and would like to dip your toe in to test the water, feel free to come along. There is no annual fee, and you can come and go as you please and as your working schedule allows.

The next Canterbury meetings will be taking place on:

Wednesday 28th September 2011
Thursday 27th October 2011
Wednesday 30th November 2011

All at 7am and with great speakers booked for all! We hope we might see you at one in the future!

For more information email social@castlewoodhotels.com

No comments:

Post a Comment