A fitting start to The Boardroom Network Solent’s summer luncheon was the extraordinary acrobatic display by Orissa Kelly, Foot Archer. Orissa can fire and hit a target upside down using her feet – just an example of the performers, quirky installations, and entertainment provided by Abi Wightman.

Our resident MC, Jay Rachet, kept proceedings timed and flowing along – he really is the unsung hero behind TBN meetings always going without a hitch!

Chilworth Manor was the venue for this slightly different summer gathering, attended by 67 members and visitors. There were no table swaps, rather a chance to hear from five members followed by a keynote by business and conference speaker Andy Edwards.

 

  • Tony Beales, of award-winning Beales Gourmet and The Italian Villa (home to TBN Dorset), explained ‘great food and service are my passion’ as he invited us to venture over the border for Dorset’s breakfast barbecue on July 6.
  • Ian Skinner of The Diverse Cleaning Company asked ‘are salespeople born or created?’, regaling us with an anecdote as ‘sales-boy’ sidekick, aged eight, to his older brother. A few decades on, he’s learned that sales people are created through experience and that means getting things right – or wrong. “Good salespeople close deals,” he said, “great ones close the deal then say ‘what else can we do for you?’”
  • Sharing a Royal Navy background (like Ian), Michael Collins is now a successful Portsmouth chocolatier, moving to Southsea on July 28 where his expanding business will receive greater footfall. He too used a humorous anecdote from former police officer work.
  • Sophie Personne is holding her book launch at Waterstones, West Quay, Southampton, on June 28; ‘Your Other Half’ covers relationship issues and was inspired by how she tackled a breakdown.
  • Dave Plunkett explained more about the business offers TBN Advantage has put together for members (early days, take a look at this new section of the website).

 

The inspirational, ebullient networking coach and behavioural psychologist Andy Edwards asked ‘Is your networking not working?’, then led us through what to do if you’re new to the room or an old hand. Consider these two questions: ‘Who do I like?’ and ‘Who am I like?’

“You’re looking for similarity, go for rapport, not a result, because that will happen in stages.”

Andy advises having a networking plan – choose your forum, honestly ask ‘how’s business’ and take a real interest when you ask someone ‘What do you do?’.

He praised Ian and Michael for ‘telling a story’ because it made them memorable and illustrated wisdom learned through years in business.

“Go to a networking session with a need and follow up – think how many other people are a second-degree connection from just five business cards,” Andy continued. He also covered opening lines, icebreakers which seem effortless for some, yet are daunting to networking newbies. ‘Hello, may I join you?’ – with a smile – rarely fails!

If ever a beginning and ending were a fabulous fit it was target archery and setting your sights on a target when networking.

Orissa is very bendy. Sometimes we need to be equally flexible in business, to score a bullseye.

 

Words: Sue Hughes, Copywriter & Editor suehughesltd.co.uk

Photo: Thanks to Lex McKee