Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Newbury Networking

For almost two years now I have been a member of Newbury Networking - a somewhat informal alternative to traditional networking, originally set up by a break away faction of BNI!

The group meets on Tuesday evenings - itself an alternative to the breakfast meetings that are so tricky for working parents - and visitors and guests are always welcome from 6.30pm for a 7pm start in the function room at The Traveller's Friend in Crookham Common. Incidentally, the pub currently has a four foot tall, guitar playing, carol singing, motion activated Santa that bursts into song as you enter. More than 30 seconds and you will be ready to destroy it!

Anyway, earlier this evening I attended what was my penultimate meeting and handed in my resignation. Nevertheless I was still asked to step in as chair, but had to decline as I needed leave early for another committment.

Shame really, it would have been fun to see if I copped as much flak as the group traditionally directs at the chair! I am sure it must stun some visitors; the ribaldry can be intense and probably exclusive as it often refers to running jokes.

For me it has proven a gentle introduction into the exciting world of networking, and one where the only pressure to make referrals was simply the pressure you put on yourself. A combination of factors have prompted me to step down - not least how hard I find it to attend every week and not being there is not fair on the group or guests - or someone who does have the time to attend every week.

I had been there with my web design hat on as the very name of the company: Morgan PR, tended to hint at some of the other services I might be able to offer. I've made some good friends there and was genuine when I said I would call back as a guest in the future or maybe offer the education slot on something PR.

The guests last night were Tony Ward and Neil Murphy from Armchair Answercall Ltd, an Andover company offer virtual receptionist and answering services, together with call centre facilities. In a particularly polished marketing move, Neil handed out proposal documents for each member. Simply a personalised front sheet in a bound brochure, but very impactive and complimented his presentation. Which infuriatingly (for him too no doubt) I had to leave half way through!

So any networkers who fancy a night out rather than an early morning should consider Newbury Networking and give them a try. I'm more than happy to introduce anyone.

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