6 Ways You Can Improve Your Networking

10-12 Maidenhead networking

6 Ways You Can Improve Your Networking

For some people, networking comes as naturally as breathing. Sadly, most of us aren’t those people, and networking successfully is something we have to work at. Much more than rocking up somewhere to get coffee, networking is a vital part of our marketing efforts, and something we pay a lot of attention to. But if you’re not a natural networking, it can seem a little tough to work out how to change what you’re doing and get the most out of your networking efforts. So today, we have 6 easy and simple ways you can improve your networking this month and see real results. 

Have A Plan

Let’s go back to basics. Why are you going networking? What is it you’re looking for, and how will you find it? Having a strategy for networking might seem a bit rigid, but in reality it’s a vital part of success. For each event you go to, know what kind of person you want to speak to, and how you plan to find and approach them. It might be that you’re asking for introductions to a certain type of person, or you’re going to a networking group of people in only that industry. Planning out your approach will also keep you more focused when you’re in the room, leading to a better quality experience.

Prepare Your Pitch 

In many networking groups, you will be given the chance to stand up and deliver a pitch to the room. It’s usually short – anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute – which means you need to know exactly what you want to say before it’s your turn to stand up. We see too many people fumble over their words and waste their precious time, in what could be a powerful pitch session. But if you prepare your pitch in advance, you will be able to deliver it more confidently and get your point across in the way you want to. Not only that, but you can look up a specific person you want to be introduced to, and ask if anyone knows them in your pitch. Specific requests often lead to people following up on your behalf, or even knowing the person you’re asking for. It’s an incredibly powerful thing to do, so why not take advantage of it? Remember, specific is terrific!

Speak to Everyone

If you’re attending a regular networking event, it can be all too tempting to fall into speaking to the same people over and over again. And while it’s true that networking is all about building those relationships, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of forging new ones. When you go to an event, try and speak to everyone in the room, if only briefly. Getting bogged down with one or two people can mean you don’t network as freely, and you could miss a crucial introduction. So if someone new walks into the room, or even someone who you haven’t spoken with much, make a point of having a conversation. You never know where it might lead.

Arrange 1-2-1’s 

During the meeting, you don’t have much time to get to know each other. Even in our 10-12 meetings, where we give you 2 5 minute 1-2-1’s, it’s still not really enough time to build that relationship up. So it’s important to arrange to meet people outside of the time pressures of a meeting. 1-2-1’s are where the real business is done – where you can discuss the details of your products and services, and find those sparks of interest or collaboration. But so many people don’t make the time to have them. Even if you just set aside an hour after the meeting to chat with someone over a coffee, you will see your networking improve and your success increase. Honestly, we can’t advocate for 1-2-1’s enough. 

Try New Groups 

There’s nothing like a change of scenery, and that goes for networking as well as life. The sad reality is that if you just stick to one group, eventually you will reach saturation point, and you will get nothing more out of it. To really improve your networking reach, you shouldn’t be afraid to try out lots of different groups. Visit different areas, different networks and even groups who meet at different times of day. You’ll meet a lot more people that way, and widen your network even more. This extra exposure will help to grow your business, your network and your skills quicker than anything else. 

Follow Up!

And finally, don’t forget the follow up! This is the thing we wish we could shout from the rooftops at every single networking event throughout the country. Having a great conversation in the room is one thing, but translating that into business outside the room is another. Too many people assume others will follow up with them, when in reality, you’re both thinking the same thing. So many opportunities are wasted because leads aren’t followed up, emails aren’t sent, LinkedIn requests aren’t issued and phone calls aren’t made. So if you take one thing from this blog, let it be to follow up on all of your conversations in the room!

 

At 10-12, we’ve worked hard to build a culture of community, sharing and learning within our groups. That’s why we offer you 1-2-1’s in the meeting and even break out sessions to discuss business topics and exchange tips. In fact, the points above actually came out of a breakout session at our Reading meeting this month – so these are tips from our members, and ways they feel they could all improve their networking skills. If you’d like to join our community, or just see what 10-12 is like, just get in touch with us today, or book your visit here.


Royal Networking

Royal Networking – Making The Most Of Ascot

It’s that time of year! The hats and fascinators come out and the nice dresses come out of retirement to celebrate Ascot races. People flock by the thousands to visit the races and enjoy a day of sunshine, food, betting and racing. But did you know that Ascot is also a fantastic opportunity for business owners just like you? Not just as an excuse for a day out, but as a genuine opportunity to network and grow your business? In honour of the Ascot races being held this month, we have a few suggestions you can use to make the most of it this year.

 Split The Cost Of a Trip With Your Network 

Ascot tickets can be expensive, especially if you want to go on your own. But one of the things we’ve seen members doing in the past is getting together as a group and splitting the cost of the trip. If you go to a regular networking group, this can be a great way to strengthen those connections and maybe even make some new ones. Put out the invitation to your group for an Ascot or Henley races experience, and together you will be able to get better rates than all of you individually. And because it’s a social event, you will end up getting to know everyone much better, improving the chances of doing business together.

Hold An Ascot Party

If you can’t make the actual races, or just don’t fancy being around all the people, you could use the event as an opportunity to host your own Ascot themed event. Plenty of networking groups will hold their own Ascot themed parties as a way of bringing together their members in a more social setting. In fact, we’re holding one ourselves this month on the 19th. Find yourself a venue (even if it’s your own living room), play the races on a screen and serve afternoon tea. Invite your guests to dress up and bet on the races. You could use this as an opportunity to fund- raise for a local charity and invite other local business owners to join in. Holding an Ascot party is a great way to get a group of business owners in a room, enjoying themselves and the races for less expense.

Booking A Box

Of course, if you’re looking to impress some prospects and sweeten up your network, you could always book an executive box or other hospitality experience at the races. At Royal Ascot, there are a lot of options available for you to really spoil your guests. From executive boxes to a seat in the royal enclosure, fine dining experiences and club membership options, Ascot is a perfect way to treat your best customers and suppliers. As well as saying thank you and giving them a great experience, you’re also hosting your own mini-networking event, giving everyone there the chance to meet new people and expand their business. It might cost you a bit to do, but it can ultimately be worth its weight in gold if you’ve got the network to back it up.

 

At the 10-12 business club, we’re celebrating Royal Ascot this year with our very own ‘day at the races. So if you can’t make the races, why not join us for a fun packed afternoon of informal networking. We will all be dressing in our finest Ascot outfits, watching the races on a wide-screen TV and even enjoying a mini-sweepstake on the winner. We’ll also be serving afternoon tea with a glass of Prosecco (because it wouldn’t be Ascot without it!). So come and join us at Bearwood Lakes Golf Club on the 19th of June at 12 pm, and enjoy an afternoon growing your business. For more information, or to book your ticket, just click here.


Business networking 1-2-1 meetings 10to12 Business club

Unleash The Power Of Your 1-2-1 meetings

Here at 10-12, we are big fans of 1-2-1 meetings. So much so, in fact, that we include a special slot for them in our networking events, right at the end. This means that everyone has had a chance to find out who is in the room and what they do, so they can figure out if they want to talk to them further. 1-2-1’s are arguably the most powerful tool we have as networkers, but why?

Why We Have 1-2-1’s In Our Meetings

One of the things our visitors and new members always comment on is the fact that we hold 1-2-1’s within our meeting. For many networking groups it is a bit unusual, as most spend that time doing longer pitches, feature presentations or passing around slips of paper. But we prefer to dedicate time to having short 1-2-1s because it creates a stronger bond between our members and allows us to get to know each other a little better. For visitors, 1-2-1’s allow you to get 10 minutes of someone’s attention and ask them all the burning questions you thought of during their 40 seconds. For members, they help you reconnect and find out new things about your fellow members. The thing that networking is famous for (and women’s groups in particular) is creating meaningful relationships that generate business for everyone involved, and the way to really maximise the chances of that is by utilising those 1-2-1’s.

Taking It Outside

10-12 meeting 1-2-1 meetingsOf course, within the confines of our monthly networking meetings, you only really get 10 minutes to chat – 5 minutes each really. And while that’s really useful for building a foundation and understanding of someone’s business, it’s the external 1-2-1’s they lead on to that are truly powerful. You see, there’s a reason most structured networking groups encourage 1-2-1 discussions and meetings. During these external meetings you have more time, are often in a more comfortable environment and can really dig deep into meaningful conversations about you and your business. The power of 1-2-1’s isn’t really about business – it’s about getting to know someone and making a deep connection that strengthens trust and builds a rapport. All sorts of things can come out during a good 1-2-1, and many friendships have blossomed from them as well. In getting to know other business owners, you get to know who you like, who thinks in the same way as you and really come to understand how you can help each other. Without 1-2-1’s, all you would have to go by is your 40 second pitch and a few brief moments of casual networking, and not much business comes out of that. But with that added trust and bonding that only comes from a one on one meeting, you have a much more powerful tool at your disposal – a networking partner who actively wants to get you business.

10-12 Business Club Networking ReadingUltimately, everyone who comes to our networking group is there for the same reason – to build connections and do business. But expecting someone to want to do business with you and refer people they know to you when they don’t really know you themselves is a bit like expecting to be able to swim after reading a book on it. You can apply all the right techniques and still end up floundering. But by taking the time to get to know someone, showing an interest in their life and business, you can start to build up the trust that leads to fruitful business. Want to see the power of 1-2-1’s in action? Come along to one of our meetings and discover just how good 1-2-1’s are for relationship building.

 


Robert burns

What’s Burns night all about?

Category : Guest Blogs

What is Burns night all about? Well for those that have no idea, it is a celebration that happens once a year and is mainly celebrated by Scots people throughout the world. However the intrigue of it all is rubbing off and more Burns nights are appearing every year. Many associations such as Golf clubs love to use Burns Night as an excuse to get their clan together and celebrate the event with Scottish food, songs and poems as well as dancing until the wee small hours, which they call The Burns Supper

In short, Burns Night is the celebration of the Scottish Poet Robert Burns, who? you may ask. Well if you did already know, here is a brief history of the man of the moment for you to make up your own mind if he was a talented poet or just a rouge and womaniser as some have claimed. Whatever your thoughts, he certainly made a lasting impact.

Robert burns

Born on the 25th of January 1759 in Alloway Ayrshire to William Burness a tenant farmer and Agnes Broun. He was one of seven and brought up to work on his father’s farm.  At the age of 15 he penned his first verse “My handsome Nell” which was an ode to one of   the subjects in his life – Scotch women! 

 Burns had several illegitimate children including twins to the woman who eventually became his wife Jean Armour.

 (The poor woman gave birth to 4 children before he married her and 5 more after that and that still did not stop him straying).

  They say that most of Ayrshire is related to him due to his infidelities with the local ladies.   Just look at the poems he wrote on the women of his life, if your name was Anna, Alison, Katie, Mary, Jeanie, Chloris, Clarinda, Nancy, Nell, Molly, Polly, Peggy, Bessie, Jessie, Eliza, Maria, Delia and – rather weirdly – Davies…. To name but a few!

 Burns died at the age of 37 on the same day as his last son Maxwell was born.   There were more than 10,000 people attended his funeral to pay their respects, however his popularity then was nothing compared to the heights it has reached since.  

Burns Night is a celebration of the birth of Rabbie Burns held on or as near to the day of his birth throughout Scotland and all over the world and would undoubtedly have made him proud.  The first Burns night was reputedly held ten years or so later in Tarbolton in Ayrshire of which Burns himself once wrote :

I’ve been tearin’ oot ma hair

Ye’ think ah’d been multin

Trying tae think o a word,

That rymes wie Tarbolton

Burns night celebration

As well as all the poems that he penned there are more than 400 songs in existence written by Burns of which it is said that some of the songs were what he had heard sung in taverns whilst collecting taxes during his days as an excise man.  It is claimed some he did not compose but was just the first to actually write them down! His most famous is Auld Lang Syne and my favourite is:

Cock up your Beaver

When first my brave Johnnie lad came to this town

He had a blue bonnet that wanted the crown

But now he had gotten a hat and a feather

Hey, brave Johnnie Lad, Cock up your beaver!

 Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu’ Sprush!

We’ll over the border and gie them a brush:

There’s somebody there we’ll teach better behaviour –

Hey, brave Johnnie lad, Cock up your beaver!

and the key to a good Burns night is to get a group of friends together, read poems and sing his songs, dance some jigs and most of all enjoy, with losts of toasts!

A History of Robert Burns by Issy Wiggins-Turner

Images Source Burns Scotland


Is there such a thing as free networking?

I often hear people saying that they will only use free networking rather than a paid membership group as they feel it is better value! Which I totally understand when you are a new start business and funds are limited. However, I have to  say that once you factor in your time, your expense to get there and possibly parking costs, you have to admit that it’s not free.

Ascot Networking for womenAs a small business owner and a start up your time is the most precious thing that you own!  Trying to manage it effectively to produce your work and create sales leads can often be more like a juggling act.  In all of the networking events that I tend, when I speak to people about where their customers come from, the majority will say word of mouth.

Which is great as that’s free advertising? Well Yes and No as you need to first get yourself out there to get that referral in the first place. If you don’t network either online or in person, then no-one will know who you are or what you do.

Free Networking v Paid Networking

So it then comes down to Free networking versus paid networking which can be online or in person. So is Free Networking actually free? Possibly no as free networking takes time out of your day and often with free networking the organisers wont know how many people are going to turn up. After all its free so there is no cancellation fee if someone decides to no longer attend.

House 28 Sherfield On Loddon NetworkingThere is often some hidden cost in “Free Networking” as you have to get there in the first place. If it’s not walking distance then you will need to drive or take public transport so that’s the first hidden cost to you. Once there the event normally will be for a duration of at least 2 hours so your going to want to have a drink of something. Most events that I have gone to have water available so you could save on the cost of a coffee and just drink water, but you will more than likely buy a drink of some kind, be it tea or coffee. Add to this your time out of the office and you can see how Free networking is not actually free.

Of course a paid membership has all those costs too but what more does it offer you? For me it is always about the relationships that you build when networking with the same group, it takes time to get to know people and to find out their strengths and establish who you can recommend to use their services. In return people will get to know you better, your strengths and skills so that they can recommend you and your business.

Paid Networking with Structure

At the 10-12 Business Club, we know that our members and visitors time is precious so we have designed a structured networking event of 2 hours that ensures it is all about business.

We start with 20 minutes of open networking where you can meet new visitors to the group, chat to regular members and build relationships. We then have the opportunity to share your business details with all of the group both in a 40 second pitch and printed materials such as business cards or flyers.

Our business section includes an informative presentation by a member or visitor followed by a Business breakout session on a business topic for that month. The 10-12 Business club have covered many topics from finance, to finding more customers or planning social media campaigns.

The highlight of the meeting ends with 3 x 1-2-1’s which gives you lots of opportunity to get your business in front of everyone at the meeting and possibly talk to most of the people at the meeting.

Is Free Networking worth it?

I have never found with free networking that you have time to build relationships as some people attending these events use it as a business card collecting event.  Some people don’t even want to listen to what you have to say and are more than happy to tell you all about them, even when it is obvious that you have no synergy with each other. However they still want to collect your business card and add you to their mailing list or LinkedIn contacts!

One video that highlights the possible downsides of networking your business is this one which I am happy to say I have never met anyone quite as bad as this man. One thing I can guarantee you as a 10-12 Business Club member, you wont meet him at a meeting, as we don’t allow men! Now there’s one reason as a women business owner to try the 10-12 Business Club


Womens Networking

New Womens Network Meetings

Womens Networking group Bagshot Camberley

The 10-12 Business Club are delighted to announce a new womens business networking group that launches on the 17th of June at the Windlesham Golf Club.

This new group will meet on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 10am to 12noon using our structured network meeting format.

The group launches in the month of June which just happens to be the visitor month for 10-12 Business Club which will allow you to try out the 10-12 format for just £10

Visit the meeting page for more information on our Camberley and Bagshot Network Group

Bagshot camberley womens networking


Karen Livingstone

Networking Events – Does size really matter?

Karen Livingstone co founder 10-12 Business club

This week co founder and owner of Little Acorn Marketing, Karen Livingstone has been looking at Networking and the size of different events. In her blog she has considered which networking works best and if we should really be bothered by size of networking events or should it really be quality of the people that you meet at the events?
Its an interesting subject and anyone that has ever networked, I am sure will have a view on which networking works best for them.

Karen says; “Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time networking in and around Berkshire. I have sampled lots of different groups from ladies only to mixed, informal just turn up style to structured and more formal. One thing I have noticed is how some people are very focused on the numbers. The assumption is that the more people attending a meeting the more successful it will be. But is this really the case? In my experience no it isn’t. (read more on Karen’s experience of networking on her Little Acorn Marketing Blog)

Please feel free to add your comments below on what you think makes a good networking event. Is it numbers that you want or is it quality contacts? Personally I would have to agree on the quality contacts as small events do allow you more time with individuals than often the larger ones. BUT the key to good networking is always staying focussed on BUSINESS and not allowing the conversation to drift into chit chat.


harleyford golf club network meeting

New Venue for Marlow

After 18 months at The Danesfield House hotel, the 10-12 Business Club are moving to Harleyford Golf CLub, only a few miles closer to Marlow.  Host Karen Livingstone said “we have been holding our meetings at the Danesfield House Hotel for nearly two years and felt that now was the right time to move to a new venue. The Harleyford Golf club is passionate about local business owners and the location is just perfect by the river. We are particularly looking forward to the home baked goodies that will be served with our teas and coffees.

If you haven’t tried the 10-12 Business Club then come along to this launch meeting and bring a friend for free. Just book online as a visitor and bring a friend for free.


networking meetings berkshire

Business Networking

How to Join 10-12 Business Club

Business networking is an expanding market for new start up businesses and local entrepreneurs. To the corporate employee they may wonder why business people would commit to such an activity but there are more benefits to the business owner than downsides.
Here are just a few reasons to consider networking;

  • It is a great way to find new clients.
  • Build relationships with like-minded individuals.
  • Learn from the success stories of others.
  • Spread the word about your own business.
  • Opportunities of joint ventures, speaking and writing etc.
  • Generate leads, referrals for your business and increased sales.
  • Find local suppliers for services or products you offer.
  • Share business problems to find solutions.
  • Feel part of a team
  • Raise your profile

Founders of 10-12 Business Club To help business owners experience networking, these events are held at various times of the day and in various formats. From early morning breakfasts to late evening drinks, structured boardroom style meetings to open networking over a coffee, the choice is endless.If you are considering networking for your business search out some of the local organisations offering this service and try one of each. Some events are free of charge and can be very busy but often the smaller paid membership groups are the ones you gain the most benefit from and build better relationships and ultimately receive referrals for business.

The 10-12 Business Club offers networking for Men and women in the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire area.


1st Birthday Party

Network Groups First Birthday Party

10-12 Business Club goes golf crazy to celebrate networking group’s first birthday

It’s celebration time for members and supporters of the 10-12 Business Club as they mark the Thames Valley networking venture’s first birthday.

They will be joining forces on 20 September at Caversham Heath Golf Club, near Reading, for a networking lunch plus the chance to either check out nine of the 18-hole championship course or have a lesson with a club pro.

Since the 10-12 Business Club was launched in September 2012 more than 100 members have signed up in four groups — Reading, Marlow, and Sunningdale, which are for women only, and Twyford, which welcomes men as well.

Behind the venture are three local business owners — Karen Livingstone, of Little Acorn Marketing, Lucie Robson, of Off The Red Tees, and Issy Wiggins, of Goeasy Travel and Where’s Your Website.

Issy Wiggins said: “It’s been an amazing year and we’re delighted at how quickly the club has grown and the commitment and support we’ve had from the business people who have got involved.

“We wanted to mark this important milestone with something just a little different and as we’re all keen golfers, this seemed like a great way to celebrate!

“We’re combining some serious business networking with a great opportunity for everyone — members and non-members alike — to have a bit of fun, whether they’re seasoned golfers or absolute beginners or just want to join us for lunch.”

The day — which is open to all — runs from 9am until 2.30pm, with three options on offer:

  • Lunch and networking only between 12.30pm-2.30pm (£12.50)
  • Lunch and networking plus a one-hour golf lesson with a Caversham pro between 11am and noon (£19.50)
  • Lunch and networking plus nine holes on Caversham’s 18-hole championship course between 9am and noon (£22.50).

Issy added: “Caversham has excellent changing facilities, so you can switch from your golf gear to smart casual in time for lunch.”

To find out more or reserve any of the options, go to www.10-12businessclub.co.uk and follow the “1st Birthday Party” links.

ENDS

 

More information from Karen Livingstone on 07988 676 219; karen@littleacornmarketing.co.uk

Notes to editors

The 10-12 Business Club was founded in September 2012 to offer structured networking at convenient venues across east Berkshire and south Buckinghamshire and now has a membership of more than 100].

Meetings are hosted once a month at four venues, with women-only groups at Reading, Marlow, and Sunningdale, and a mixed group in Twyford.

The club’s name derives from the 10am start and midday finish times, and meetings follow a carefully structured approach that includes short presentations and valuable one-to-one networking. Membership is not restricted by profession.

From September 2013, the club is also hosting 10-12 BizClub Lite, a monthly unstructured networking event in Shinfield open to all.

Behind the 10-12 Business Club and 10-12 BizClub Lite are three local business owners:

 

Karen Livingstone runs her own marketing consultancy, Little Acorn Marketing, and works with SMEs in the Thames Valley to help them grow their businesses using a range of approaches, including social media/digital marketing. She comes from a strong corporate background with over 20 years of experience in planning, strategy, tactical implementation and evaluation, particularly in the technology sector.

Lucie Robson has a background in promotional marketing and product management across the retail and travel IT service sectors and now runs her own golf events business. Through Off The Red Tees, she focuses in particular on encouraging women new to the sport as well as organising bespoke charity and corporate events. In 2013, she organised the UK rounds of the Ladies Golf Cup, a prestigious event leading to an international final.

Issy Wiggins is the owner of two businesses — Goeasy Travel, a boutique travel consultancy, and digital agency Where’s Your Website.  She founded Goeasy Travel — now part of the Global Travel Group consortium — in 1999 and specialises in organising complex multi-centre holiday itineraries, bespoke packages for honeymoons and weddings, and group ski-ing and golf destination holidays. Where’s Your Website was established to offer a complete service to SMEs, including web design and build, digital marketing and social media training.