Here we are back at The Solent Hotel & Spa, Whiteley for our June breakfast event.
Unlike the previous two meetings we were upstairs in the delightful Carisbrooke Suite due to a conference booking in our usual Hambledon Suite. We were son comfortable. The coffee was hot. The atmosphere vibrant. Discussion and conviviality warm and friendly.
Having been a member since the launch in April, it was good to see familiar faces but also good to see many new people there. What was interesting to note was the fact that there were 70 or so in attendance of which around 30 were new. This is encouraging as a member and testament to Jacqui’s hard work in making this group work. It is clear Business Owners and Managers are seeking a networking group of this type. I have attended many other networking groups in my time and can honestly say that I have not had my business attract as much interest as it has in this one. Whether that is because of how I’ve changed or the type of business I run or the people in the room and the style and format of this event I don’t know but that is the way it is.
The morning followed the usual format that Jacqui has created with Jay Rachet, our resident MC who makes sure everyone knows what they should be doing and when and where. As structured as this seems it does work well. It is professional without being too formal. There is certainly no restriction to networking as the set up encourages discussion and the meeting of new people as often as you want.
Once we had started Breakfast the Table Ambassadors made sure that everyone round the tables had introduced themselves and distributed cards as required. Despite the numbers people were able to hear and make themselves heard. It was all very orderly.
At the appointed moment three prearranged members were given the opportunity to speak for 2 minutes to the room. Having done this myself I know how valuable this opportunity is.
The first to speak was Carol McFadden. Carol is a mortgage advisor with Abacus Financial Options. In her presentation she emphasised the range of financial services that she offered and how different she is from other mortgage advisors. With 2 minutes to make herself memorable Carol sporting a bright red jacket indicated the festive season colour i.e. “Christmas” Carol – her tartan shoes made reference to her Scottish Heritage and her strap line is “you can count on us” cleverly wove in the name Abacus! Carol not only demonstrated her knowledge and experience but also her sense of humour and would be well worth consulting if you wanted help with your mortgage, either as a first time buyer or an existing mortgagee.
The second speaker was Michael Collins of Chocablock Ltd. As his company name suggest Michael is a chocolatier and the room can now testify to the high quality of his chocolates. Michael gave a bit of history as to how he became a chocolatier from a spell in the Navy to a career as a Detective in the Metropolitan Police Michael proved to be a most entertaining and engaging speaker. The Chocolate Lounge in Portsmouth doesn’t just sell delicious handmade chocolates but is also a café and an event location for parties and monthly music events – clearly well worth a visit.
Last, but by no means least, our third speaker was Gavin Miekle. Gavin’s business is that of a copywriter and speaking coach. As a copywriter he can write text for websites, press releases, leaflets for your marketing and PR campaigns. He also runs courses that help people develop their skills to present. What he didn’t say is that he is currently the President of the Solent Speakers group. This is a self-development group under the banner of Toastmasters. A group of which I am a strong advocate.
All three presentations were entertaining, informative and educational. All very much in accordance with the TBN way of working.
As happens every month a bottle of champagne was given to reward the member who has attracted the most new members to the group, and this time it went to Gavin Miekle so hopefully it was a very worthwhile morning for him.
Jay closed the meeting with a reminder of the TBN Summer Golf Trophy on the 22nd June at Bramshaw Golf Club and the TBN Annual Summer BBQ Breakfast to be held on the 7th July at the beautiful Italian Villa, Compton Acres Nr Sandbanks, Poole. An invitation was extended to all TBN Solent to attend if they didn’t mind an extra early start. This event is always well attended (120+ last year) and well worth a visit.
As always the meeting closed on time – not that anyone seemed in a hurry to leave with so many conversations started and new people to meet.
Our thanks go to Steve Spice of The Photo Rooms, Southampton for being the meeting photographer.