An insight into what it’s like to attend Sue’s workshop, designed to help people feel more comfortable networking.
I do what I do ‘cos I love words. I love writing. I love the puzzle in front of me, as I am tasked with turning someone’s thoughts, values, and knowledge into tangible sentences that ring loudly in a reader’s mind. It charges me up and makes me feel like I’m truly helping someone get their message out.
However, I don’t love networking. I find it tiring, exhausting, and sometimes really really hard work. I feel nervous and my words don’t quite flow (oh, the irony for a copywriter, I know!). Quite simply, it drains me!
So, that’s why I enrolled on Sue France’s workshop – Networking with Joy. I wanted to equip myself with a positive mindset and practical tools to go forward. Because as much as I think ‘ugh, networking’, I have to do it. And I have to admit, I’ve found some incredible clients and projects over the years… through networking.
So what did I learn – and what could you learn, if you’re like me? If you don’t like networking but want to feel more confident? Here are the takeaways that are ringing in my ears after this fantastic workshop.
A little preparation will improve your confidence tenfold
That 60 second pitch? Practice, practice, practice! Pick a structure that works for you and showcases how you help people. Get to grips with it and believe your words – that way they will roll more naturally off your tongue, when it’s your turn to pitch yourself.
An open circle is your cue
Ever walked into a room and felt like everyone is chatting in little groups? And you are standing your own, ‘looking like a lemon’? Keep an eye out for a break in a circle, a space for you. These are the easiest spaces to occupy and become part of a conversation. It still sounds scary but there’s a lot to be said about body language and physical space – so use the signs to maximise your chance of success!
You don’t need to get along with everyone
You will meet people at networking you don’t like. That’s ok. Be polite. Make your excuses if need be. It’s a small interaction that you don’t have to continue if you don’t want to. Networking should be about connecting with those you want to – so don’t feel bad if you don’t gel with everyone in the room.
A smile goes a long way
Ever caught the eye of another nervous networker? Give them a reassuring smile and strike up a convo. You can make business buddies in similar situations to you – and it won’t feel so daunting!
Swap details and follow up
At the end of the day networking may not be your favourite thing in the world. Don’t sweat it. You don’t have to love it – you just have to make it work for you and your business. So what can you do to make it productive? Getting someone’s details and connecting with them on social media (LinkedIn is very popular right now!) is a great way of making sure a networking event is always worthwhile, even if it doesn’t bring you lots of joy.
At the very least, enjoy a fab venue and yummy lunch
My biggest takeaway from this event at Kelsall Equestrian Centre is that sometimes you just need to take the pressure off yourself. Enjoy the day. The (fabulous) company. The (beautiful) setting. And the (very yummy) lunch. Don’t think of it as ‘I MUST get a lead from this’. Instead explore connections, be inspired and bounce ideas off your peers.
Onwards and upwards, more networking, here I come!
Thanks so much, Sue, for a fantastic workshop. It was great to have some actionable points to navigate any future networking. I feel so much more confident now – and I’m determined that I will, indeed, find the joy in networking. Or at the very least, find what works for me.
Written by Zoe Barnett –
Zoe is an SEO copywriter & content marketer specialising in blogging and website content. She lives in Northwich, Cheshire and supports clients both locally and further afield. Zoe has a strong content marketing background and has been offering freelance copywriting and content services since 2018.