Who you know, not what you know

I have to confess to being a bit of a fan of networking. Throughout my career I have been to numerous networking events and, although the benefits are not always immediately obvious, over time I’ve come to realise that the old adage ‘it’s not what you know it’s who you know’ couldn’t be more true.

Only once have I turned up at a networking event and said, “I’m a solicitor helping people buy and sell businesses,” and the person opposite me said, “I have just agreed the terms to buy a business and don’t have a solicitor”….if only it was always that easy. In the main you have to play the long game, and remember it’s not necessarily the people you meet but the people that they know.  One of our current clients was an introduction from another solicitor who I had met through networking. He was with a niche practice with a particular specialism and came across a client who needed specialist expertise which his firm did not have. Definitely a case of ‘who you know’ – not many people would expect competitor to be a potential source of work!

But if the idea of walking into room full of strangers fills you with dread, the Stockport Breakfast Club is a great introduction to networking.

Stockport Breakfast Club is Stockport’s best attended (and I think longest running) networking event.  It has been going for 26 years! Held on the second Thursday of every month at the Alma Lodge, the club regularly attracts 70 to 80 people, but unlike many other networking events you don’t just pitch up, walk into a room and  wonder where to stand, who to talk to and how to strike up that initial conversation.

As you arrive at Breakfast Club you pull a table name out of a hat, which means that you are allocated to a specific table with other randomly drawn guests and a table host to look after you. Everyone takes their seats fairly quickly so there’s none of that awkward mingling – you’ve got a ready made group of people around your table to introduce yourself too.

To get you off to a good start we always give newcomers a 30 second slot to stand up and introduce yourself and your business to the whole room. Sounds scary but invariably there are several newcomers at each meeting and the great thing is that although you are unlikely to leave knowing everyone’s name, most of them will then know yours, so you’ve already started to plant the seed of recognition, making developing further conversations so much easier.

The meetings have been expertly chaired by Matthew Goldsborough for the last two years, who will be handing over the reigns to David Cooney and Melloney Anderson of Gorvins next year, both of whom have been regular attendees at Breakfast Club for some time.

So why not give networking a try by joining us at the next Breakfast Club? The next event is on 8th December and will also include our Christmas Quiz – another great ice-breaker.

 To book go to http://www.gmchamber.co.uk/events/1508

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