Round 2 – a bit of a knockout

My mother once told me that it’s the second punch that starts a fight. She was, of course, being literal but it set me thinking. If something happens twice, does that make it a serious proposition? Could be. A single lightning strike happens, well, every time there’s lightning. But when lightning strikes twice, it’s considered pretty serious, right?

My point here is that the second TBN breakfast was always destined to have something to prove. It needed to land that second punch to start the fight. And it is a bit of a fight against apathy across the locality towards business networking. There are plenty of reasons for this, which we could debate late into the night but, clearly, not all network clubs and events are created equal. Fortunately, judging by the turnout, the enthusiasm and the number of new faces, TBN appears to be fighting fit. Let the title challenge begin…!

The few teething problems of the inaugural event were elegantly laid to rest – coffee was served after the table swap, the buffet breakfast queues were banished, and we had water on the tables. And some of it was fizzy – hurrah!

As with Round One, MC Simon Scarborough called ‘seconds out’ and smoothed the proceedings. Table networking was lively, to say the least. Happily, there was no fighting but plenty of banter. As a Table Ambassador, I can report that interesting new contacts were made and offsite meetings arranged – and that was just my table. I hear similar reports from other tables. In fact, from one we have the promise of a strategic business partnership being forged – not a bad investment for the two parties concerned, you must agree.

Once again, the “Two Minute Warming” slots proved popular. Mark Ridley, the local business development manager for Ridgeway Bournemouth BMW and MINI was first to climb into the ring. He started with the famous line “Unaccustomed as I am…” and immediately proceeded to give one of the most entertaining and natural two-minute presentations we’ve seen in quite a while. He also told us he wasn’t a car salesman, and then sprinted through all the new models in the BMW range – but, admittedly in an amusing and engaging way. So we let him off this time. For those like me who didn’t know, Ridgeway is the new name for Wood; same place (Wallisdown), new signs, and some new people at the helm.

Next, Stuart Pool from Nineteen 48 revealed a rather surprising hoard. I had chatted with Stuart earlier, over coffee before breakfast. Where most of us would show a business card, Stuart reached into his top pocket and pulled out a small case crammed with sparkling precious gemstones. I tell you, no-one expects that at 7.00am in the morning, and my first thought was how he’d be a mugger’s delight! But this is Bournemouth, after all, so he’s on safe turf. Stuart’s organisation imports ethically-sourced gemstones and jewellery from Sri Lanka for retail and private customers, and quite rightly boasts a commendable social conscience that sees Nineteen 48 invest back into Sri Lankan community and charitable projects.

Unusually for a TBN breakfast – in so far as the only previous event didn’t do this – we enjoyed a third Two Minute Warming. This time, Lindsay Shepherd described a seemingly circuitous career journey from policewoman to hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner via roles in advertising agencies and marketing. However, she tied it all together convincingly with an argument about creativity. It made sense – or did she make us think it made sense? Hmm. Anyway, Lindsay has arrived at her chosen destination now in the guise of Lindsay Shepherd Hypnotherapy.

As promised, the resolute commercial focus of TBN meant that all tummies were full, contacts made, business cards exchanged and proceedings wrapped up by 9.00am, making negligible or zero impact on the rest of the day’s business. Just the way we like it.

This is still early days for The Boardroom Network so, as ever, we’re keen to hear about your experience? All feedback, ideas and suggestions are welcome. Keep them coming. Equally important – please forward details of your contacts who might benefit from attending a TBN breakfast – we’ll do the rest to keep attracting new members – the lifeblood of networking as I say.

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