Turning Stumbling Blocks Into Stepping Stones and Making First Contact


Image of the Month (Solstice)

Anthony Marshall, captured here by Justin Wharmby, has to be the Solstice Image of the Month.  This is pure joy… though knowing the table Anthony was on, it’s no surprise.  As Jacqui says on a post on LinkedIn,

“Initiating and building  good business connections need not be stuffy –  it can be effective, structured and enjoyable.”

Quote of the Month (Solstice)

Hugh Vivian brings us what must be the quote of the month and a mighty contender for Quote of the Year”

“If ‘You’ met “You” at an event, what would you think?”

This made me feel very uncomfortable in a very, very good way.  Who wants to do business with a Joker?  It’s great to be likeable (to some people!) but we network-on-purpose and that purpose isn’t to amuse, it’s to profit from the relationships we build.  Does coming dressed comfortably serve our message? Or should we, as Pam Bates says,

“Dress as we wish to be addressed”?

How do you and I come across in:

  • The first four seconds, and then
  • The first four minutes?

Allegedly, we make up our minds about people in the first four seconds, and certainly within the first four minutes.  After that, it’s simply a question of looking for evidence to confirm our initial prejudice (in the true sense of the word.)

It’s worth thinking about each sensory signal we send to those we meet:

  • The way we look (cue more business for those image experts amongst our members!  Comment or get to the back of the queue!)
  • The way we sound (cue more business for those of us who mentor, teach, and coach presentation skills!)
  • The way we shake hands (check out Hugh’s video below…)
  • The way we smell (as in our scent and breath!)
  • The way we taste (OK, that’s only going to work for Michael Collins and our culinary masters – you know who you are!)

Personally, I can’t wait until the next meeting.  There’s such an exciting call-to-action here.  I might even polish my shoes!

Turning Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones, Setbacks into Springboards

Given that you can watch Ashley Hutchinson’s excellent presentation from our YouTube channel below, I’ll just summarise with Ashley’s key learning points.

In his own words:

  1. What seems disastrous can actually be an opportunity. It often doesn’t look like it at the time
  2. Don’t give up. If you have a dream you may actually achieve it, even when it feels like it’s slipped away.

Watch the presentation to see how Ashley was led to that conclusion – you’ll be inspired.

My summary would be that any stumbling block can be turned into a stepping stone to better things if we have the right attitude and our eyes open to new opportunities.  With this attitude and perceptual filter, setbacks become springboards.

Ashley has proved this.

Oh – with reference to the YouTube link that follow, kindly ‘like’ plus ‘subscribe’ plus click on the bell for notifications of future videos.

First Contact with Hugh Vivian

Hugh has a wonderfully gentle way of kicking you in the solar plexus.  His statement, which has become our Quote of the Month for our Solstice group is one of the most powerful calls-to-action I’ve ever heard.

Here are Hugh’s key points in his own words:

First contact

First 10 seconds:

Your introduction?

How clear, confident and appropriate?

Your professionalism?

If you met you…..?
Your warmth?
How likeable are you?

Watch Hugh’s full presentation for yourself here…

Assumptions Challenged

As Chris Wilkinson is fond of saying, “‘Assume’ makes an ‘Ass’ out of ‘U’ and ‘Me’!”

Therefore, let me share just a few quick notes.  If I weren’t ambitious for us to become a close-knit community that watches one another’s backs, I wouldn’t say this, however, I think we can create a tribe that will achieve something awesome in Dorset, Hampshire, and Wiltshire.  To do that, we must think in terms of ‘we’ not ‘I’.  This is me saying this, not Jacqui!

Becoming a ‘movement’ or a ‘tribe’ requires mutual understanding and commitment to one another’s wellbeing.

For example, I know from experience that people like Chris Wilkinson are actively looking out for ways to introduce members to outside businesses.  You will here in Ashley’s presentation and on LinkedIn how he joined us through the advocacy of Ian Skinner.


Firstly, I’d love someone else to feel free to do the follow-up blog!  This is your chance to put your frame on the event.  History, after all, is written by those who write about it!  Put your stamp on the message!

Secondly, I have to SHOUT out loud my ongoing gratitude to Justin Wharmby.  I have never met a professional photographer who is so efficient and effective and unassuming.

It would be natural to think he is paid for the excellent photos he captures, processes, and sends to me so quickly.  He is not paid.  I would like to see us express our gratitude by investing in his photographic skills in return for payment.  He is a professional property, portrait, and event photographer.  If you need photos, call Justin and make my day.

Thirdly, I shoot the video free-of-charge for utterly selfish reasons!  It is my ‘Memory Backup’ so that I can be fully engaged in the meetings and so that I can do a fair job of writing a blog that accurately represents what you really said when you deliver a keynote for Jacqui.

I am not an employee of The Boardroom Network – although I am a passionate member of the team alongside Jay!  [The Boardroom Education is my joint-venture with Jacqui, not The Boardroom Network.]  So, if you find the video valuable, know that this is not a ‘given’ but rather is a ‘gift’ of my time to you.  As such, it is not guaranteed as an output from your presentation!  If anyone takes up my challenge to write the blog instead of me, I will provide video of the keynotes so that you can review the messages too and accurately represent the best interests of our valued members!

A couple of comments were made recently where it was clear that folks thought the photos and videos are part of the membership package.  They are not.  Justin, Jay, and I are members, just like you.  Our passion is to see the Boardroom Network thrive as the best network for professional business people in Dorset, Hampshire, and Wiltshire.  To pursue that mission, we have given our time in exchange for many a delicious breakfast*, however, we value our time and skills as highly as we would value your time and skills.  (*And I go on record as saying that Jacqui supports us in many ways outside the remit of ’employment’ – she is a wonderful person – hence our loyalty.)

Adding Value for Members

The latest addition to making the network more valuable for members requires your help.
For the first time, I’ve added the slides to www.slideshare.net

Unsurprisingly, Slides Share dot Net is designed to share slides!  It was bought by LinkedIn before the Microsoft takeover of LinkedIn and is very LinkedIn-friendly.  You can use slideshare.net to host presentations and even brochure-like promotions of your brand, product, services, and personality.  LinkedIn integrates very powerfully with this Ally, and I can show you how to add links to your [Summary] and [Experience] sections of your LinkedIn profile.  In effect, this transforms LinkedIn into a search-engine-optimised multi-media brochure site for your business.  One opportunity not to be missed!

To whet your appetite for reviewing the keynotes, here are the links to Ashley and then Hugh’s slides…




To make this easier in future, PLEASE send me your slides in advance of the presentation AND permission to promote you via our photos and videos and SlideShare.  This is in your best interests.  I want you to become even better known for the areas in which you wish to be recognised as an expert.

Onwards, upwards, forwards!


Oh, and to finish…

The Generosity of TBNers

Jay lost his gavel.

Now he has the gift of not one but two new gavels because of the generosity of our members.

We salute you!!