Saturday 7 July 2012

Creative Shift: How to network (without the cheese)

Dean Melbourne and Helga Henry from Creative Shift
So, you think you know how to network?

I thought I did. I'm hardly a wall flower, and I like meeting new people. After all, I run the Birmingham Social Media Cafe, a networking event for people who love to use social media, whether that's for work or play. I meet and greet, and make introductions. I try and make sure everyone is having a good time - if it isn't fun you are not going to be at your best after all! I try and speak to everyone who attends and of course I collect and give out my fair share of business cards. However, after attending Creative Shift's Building Business Relationships aka How To Network course yesterday, it seems I am merely scratching the surface of networking!

Yesterday I attended a half day course run by Creative Shift's (formerly Fierce Earth) Helga Henry and Dean Melbourne. There were around a dozen other attendees wanting to know the same thing: How can I improve on my networking skills?

The course promised...
· You have a clear understanding of the value of genuine peer-to-peer business relationships and are confident enough to attend events and functions, get into conversations and swap cards 
· You understand how events and meetings fit into the overall process of business development (and so have a clear idea of why you are there and what you are trying to achieve) 
· You have a number of tools and techniques for entering into a conversation, moving a conversation on and eliciting useful and engaging conversation with those you meet. 
· You correctly put more emphasis on cultivating relationships beyond the initial meeting than just meeting lots of new people 
· You know where you are with a particular developing contact, and know what the next step will be in the process.
The course delivered all that and more. I learnt so much and I now have my own action plan on what I am going to do differently when it comes to networking and just as importantly, what I am going to do after the event! I think it's safe to say everyone there got a lot out of the day.

Last year I went on a 5 day residential course held by Helga and Dean via what was then Fierce Earth. I can't believe I only wrote a brief paragraph about it in a blog post in December. What I learnt on that course still serves me well and I use the skills and knowledge on a day to day basis, and I know I will use what I learnt yesterday every day too. Creative Shift don't do 'dry and corporate' courses and their delivery will keep you hooked and is so worth the investment.

Luckily Creative Shift will be running the Building Better Business Relationship course again, so keep an eye on their website and of course you can follow them on twitter too, @mycreativeshift

Many thanks Hegla, Dean and Creative Shift! :)

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