Networking Works Well When You Play Your Cards Right

As you can see from our headline image, Darren Coates and Jay Rachet wove wit and humour into our October business breakfast at The Stones Hotel, for TBN Solstice.  Another great photo from Justin Wharmby!

It was dark and misty outside but plenty of light laughter and warming smiles in the meeting – with the opportunity to welcome a large number of visitors too.  Big thanks to our table ambassadors for making the round-table networking flow so successfully: Alasdair Mackay, Frank Marsh, Ian Skinner, Richard Mack, Jamie Forster, and Sam Dyer.

As a quick summary:

Jamie Forster shared compassionately on the importance of those in need of food, clothing, and shelter as Winter makes life even more challenging for them.

Darren Coates delivered a very entertaining message on the commercial benefits of car leasing… with Jay Rachet as his glamorous assistant.

Ben Jacomb demonstrated the power of the LinkedIn phone app to connect with other professionals who are online at the same location.

I enthusiastically recommended the commercial impact of changing our Social Media profile pictures on a Seasonal basis.

Everyone Needs Compassion

Jamie Forster is well known throughout The Boardroom Network for his beaming smile, well-humoured facilitation as a regular table-ambassador, his infectious laugh, and his emotive honesty.

In the past, Jamie has shared his own story of his battle with mental health – a wake-up call for those of us who have only ever noticed the joyous side of Jamie.  In today’s meeting, he shared his compassion for others facing challenges that we all hope we will never have to cope with in our own circumstances.

Through the story of Victor, a seller of the Big Issue, Jamie highlighted the plight of those who need a job, accommodation, support, and respectful practical kindness.

Victor’s story has an unknown ending because Jamie and his family couldn’t find Victor after they had hosted him as their guest over Christmas.  The message of the lessons learned, however, are clear.  Firstly, it is easy for us to make a difference in the lives of those in need.  A small donation to local homeless charities can literally make a difference between life and death.  Secondly, the system is pretty inflexible (Victor needed a residential address and an NI number to get the job he desired – both of which proved to be impossible requirements to deliver at the time.)  Nevertheless, we can all do our part to help change the system.

What many of us value about Jamie’s message is it highlights that we do business within a community.  We are part of the environment that supports our business.  An improvement in how Society works and cares for those in need can only be good for everyone involved.  At TBN, we don’t have Charities as members – simply because our own members choose to support their own selected charities.  We do occasionally, however, let members bring to our attention those causes they believe passionately in.

For this reason, we’d encourage you to engage with Jamie about the many specific charities he is aware of.

Play Your Cards Right

Darren Coates has shared before his message on how financially astute it can be to choose to lease rather than buy a car for your business.  This time, however, Darren clearly demonstrated the power of big visuals and positive association to capture our attention (and hopefully encourage us to approach him for our next vehicle!)  Tapping into many of the group’s memories of a certain famous Game Show, Darren (glamorously assisted by our very own Jay Rachet MC) unveiled how you can not only change the price, you can also change the package – if you play your cards right!

By ‘package’, I mean the shape of the deal too.  It’s not just about price, it’s about the initial rental (or deposit if you’re buying).  In every aspect, Darren’s offer was the winning one.

Ben the Button

I know that Frank Marsh’s table and Sam Dyer’s – with Ben Jacomb – were enthusing about the ‘find nearby’ function in the LinkedIn App for smartphones.  This is a firm favourite of Pamela Bates too.  For this reason, we asked Ben to jump up and share the simplicity and effectiveness of this function with the group.

When you’re online with the LinkedIn App – with the appropriate visibility and connectivity options all in place – pushing the ‘find nearby’ button opens up the room for near instant connection.  You can well imagine how beneficial this can be, especially if you’ve run out of business cards (or forgotten them!)  This is a great option to exercise at all our meetings – so thanks to Ben for his enthusiastic demonstration.

Capturing the Imagination

From the glamour of Darren and Jay’s presentation, I lowered the tone, describing Social Media as an itch that needs regular scratching.  Of course, scratching an itch can be rather satisfying – so let’s see the positive side of the metaphor!

Our supporting venture – The Boardroom Education – has had an exciting two weeks.  We ran our first fully ‘hands-on’ LinkedIn clinic at The Hotel du Vin.  In it, we transformed our LinkedIn profiles there and then from good to greater, simply by making ten easy adjustments.  This week, the online version of the same workshop was released on Kajabi (an online learning platform we want to use to help members make the most of their Intellectual Capital.)  Off the back of the success of these two steps forward, we’ve scheduled another ‘live’ workshop at the Hotel du Vin for 20th November (9.30-11.30am).  However, if there is enough demand from our Salisbury members (by which I mean 8 bookings), we can run the same workshop ‘live’ at The Stone on the morning of 29th November, just before our business lunch.  If this sounds good to you, drop Jacqui a note and she can begin confirming bookings.

Today’s educational component was about the value of taking an ABC approach to your profile pictures (plural!)

A = Angle.

I shared the visual and psychological impact of tilting your head to point towards where you’d like to direct people’s attention.  Positioning your head at a slight angle suggests you are listening attentively.  When you work with a professional photographer, they will also use the angle of the lighting to get the most effective headshot.  The correct head angle can also be flattering to the chin!

B = Background.

The background of your profile picture can enhance or detract from the effectiveness of the image.  You are the focus of your profile picture – or so you should be.  For this reason, plain white (high key) and plain black (low key) backgrounds work well.  Justin Wharmby, our photographer in residence, has done some research into how effective these backgrounds can be, and the resulting findings are that most people ‘trust’ a plain white background.

I’ve worked with dark backgrounds for years because of the way they help certain profile pictures stand out on the page.  My suggestion is to have the best of all worlds… which includes the following two ideas.

Cinema-goers have, for years, been enjoying the special effects made possible by using something called Chromakey photography and videography.  This is where a green or blue ‘key’ is used as a background.  This colour can then be removed at the editing stage and replaced with any background you choose.  It’s flexible, powerful, and effective.

That would give us three different backgrounds for a seasonal change of our profile picture to scratch that itch!  But what about the 4th type?  This takes us to the letter ‘C’.

C = Context.

Check out two of our members:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/soniamundey/  [A Member at TBN/EBWC]

https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannah-beard-bournemouth-chiropractor/ [Member of EBWC]

Both Hannah and Sonia have combined a themed banner with a defocused yet complementary background to their profile pictures.  I hope you’ll agree that these look very professional.

What’s the call to action then?

If you were to have a set of profile pictures (on white, on black, on green/blue, and in context), you could rotate these Seasonally, keeping your profile ‘in sight, in mind’ – which can only be good for business!  If you prefer a ‘done-for-you’ service, let’s chat about the forthcoming workshops where you can easily upgrade your profile on LinkedIn.

Thanks for another great meeting, and we look forward to seeing you on 29th November!

Lex

The Boardroom Education