Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Un-Networking - Floating Your Own Boat

I was reading through a copy of Director magazine a few weeks ago and there was an interview with Carole Stone - ‘The best connected woman in Britain’ and in it she suggested the idea of a networking salon where you invite a small group of people for an informal networking breakfast lunch or evening.

And I just loved the idea, I think because it was simple and practical, something I could organise and run
around all my other work and family commitments. I spoke to Steve Bustin of Vada media and he instantly took to the idea too… So in February, after just one evening of scouring the city for a venue we held our first Un-Networking event in central Brighton. About 20 people came along and the people who came really seemed to enjoy it. Over half of them came along to our 2nd event in March along with 12 others who came for the first time. The evening is aimed at people in the ‘creative industries’ so we have designers, copywriters, photographers, artists, marketers, events organisers – and their friends.

We have kept it really relaxed – we have a few simple guidelines that we sent out with the initial invites …
• Only buy drinks for yourself – then no one’s under pressure to buy rounds that quickly get expensive.
• Only bring out your business cards if asked for one. No throwing them around like confetti.
• Be interesting – we don’t do dull. There’s so much more to life than business so find something else to talk about for once.
• Don’t leave anyone standing around on their own – be friendly, be approachable and be prepared to talk to anyone and everyone. Who knows, they may be the making of your business – or at least a good laugh to talk to.
• By all means bring people along (ask them to fill in the Doodle form below first) but make sure they know this is un-networking, not networking.
The evening won’t appeal to everyone; there is no structure, no elevated pitches and no presentation. We don’t have people on the door and we don’t mind if people turn up late. But we do all have a good time, chatting to people like us about …. well everything really (Andy White and his theory on memory foam mattresses was a real blinder).

If you like the idea of running an Un-Networking event then do ask – I’d be more than happy to tell you about ours. We will be launching a website soon which will tell you a little more.

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