I remember that when I set up my business one of the very first things somebody said to me was “you have to start networking”
Now, coming from a background where I spent most time fiddling with computers the term networking meant hooking up computers to printers to servers etc. It turns out that in the business world, networking was all about meeting people.
I graduated from University after studying design communications and what that taught me was the fundamentals of how design and aesthetics effected people’s subconscious. It made me think about colour, tone, image, and texture and how, as a marketer one could use those elements to influence decision. Essentially it was all about increasing sales, I mean, who’d what to purposely create a negative impact?
I knew that stuff and I knew it well. What I wasn’t ready for was standing in a room full of strangers, talking about a business that I hardly knew and selling a product that I wasn’t confident people wanted. In the very beginning, that’s what networking was.
Over the years I’ve been exposed to many networking events that all aim to be different but ultimately delivered the same. Awkward conversation, stale coffee and bacon rolls, mis spelt name tags and forced situations that felt like you were at a dating agency for the desperate. On occasions, it’s been cringeworthy and degrading.
As the years of flown by my business and I have matured. We’ve found our feet and if the business was a bloke, I’d treat it as my ‘wing man’ I know it well enough to be able to confidently talk about our process standing on my head but still talking to people about who I am or what I do in the right context is very important. I’ve learned that sometimes there is just no need to force conversation. If it doesn’t come naturally then it’s probably not going to come at all
The key is for me, has been relationships.
Getting to know and like a person regardless of what they can offer.
I’m pretty sure that I have gained more valuable opportunities from meeting people at sports venues or concerts or general get togethers in recent years than I ever have at any organised networking event. Sharing moans and groans about family and friends, frustrations of the goal that was so nearly not a goal, talking about anything other than the specifics of what I do.
It’s those situations where someone’s guard is actually down and you can make and honest judgement of them and decide “yeah, I trust him. I could work with him”
It’s a nice feeling when that happens. Where a friendship flourishes and business wasn’t the catalyst. The upside of that though is that you now know someone who will be available to talk to you as and when you need them.
The problem is that there’s just not enough occasions where that can happen
This is what Woko Woco is all about. Its a replication of that experience where relationships are forged over drinks, entertainment or even an activity. It’s a place where name tags aren’t welcome but a common understanding of wanting to just have a good afternoon in good company is the main aim.
We wanted to create an environment where targeted sales people don’t get their chance to push business cards in your face but instead where fellow directors buy each other drinks and have fun.
Our events differ throughout the year and range from large fundraisers that attract over 100 people to smaller more intimate activities. All of which offer a huge amount of value but are generally designed to give people an excuse to get out of the office, try something new and meet new people while doing it.
The concept is simple. Surround yourself by people who’ve you’ve got something in common with and there are more chances that you’ll make a connection.
This is something that the business community lacks. Real connections and relationships that can be brought together to benefit one another. That, for me is the very best type of networking.BACK