Who is this for? SMEs, Startups
What is it About? Networking Meetings
Reading Time 2 Minutes

I completely understand why a lot of people in business “don’t do organised networking events”; they believe they know what kind of experience they are going to have.

You find yourself sat next to the guy who plays golf every other Friday with his mate on the next table. He spends a while trying to ‘trip you up’ in a conversation that compares your knowledge and experience to “I have a good friend in your game who always told me…”.

You know the kind of thing – a waste of an afternoon better spent playing email tennis with your regular clients, or worse – early business breakfast club that costs you a much-needed half hour under the duvet for very little return!

Then last week I was invited to a networking event that came highly recommended.

Still slightly apprehensive, as always, I walked into the event feeling excited for opportunities, it didn’t take too long before other guests started milling around and it started to feel like a good event with comfortable, easy conversations.

Talking about his business, one of the other invitees made clear he was also new to the event and a little nervous. Then he took me by total surprise by admitting he spent a lot of time looking at Pinterest and Instagram for ideas, which sometimes made him feel like a fraud.

He looked slightly shocked that he had suddenly been so open, I imagine he thought I would be judging him and his business in a negative light. The truth is I actually found his honesty really refreshing and his “did I say that out loud!” moment quite (for lack of a better word) sweet.

My response was something along the lines of.

“Don’t say that, everyone draws influence from somewhere. Nobody completely pulls new ideas out of thin air, whether you are inspired by someone else’s work or inspired by something you see in day-to-day life it doesn’t diminish the idea it gives you. Why would people create things like art and architecture if they didn’t want people to be inspired? As long as your final output is different, what are you doing that is so bad?”

He seemed a lot more relaxed after our chat and from what I saw; it looked like he went on to have a very successful event.

On my way home I got to thinking that it doesn’t just apply to the arts. Inspiration is everywhere – good writers read, but good business people actively seek out ideas and take advice. If you can bring together enough open and honest people, like my new friend, all in one place, it could happen all the quicker.

The event I went to was nothing like the “Old Boys Club” I might have expected – a lot of the advice and talks given sync’d completely with the ideas that we promote daily at Blue Strawberry Elephant.

Through dialogue with clients about marketing discipline, integrating design and brand strategy (it’s not all about pretty pictures and likes on Instagram) we aim to transform businesses via initial consultation right through to full service roll outs at a pace the client can handle – Helping businesses discover their voice, create common cause internally and use the marketing tools and campaigns we create to raise profiles and communicate clear messages. We have the ability through creativity and collaboration to change businesses and in turn, the people who run those businesses lives.

I’m very proud of that.

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