We recently hosted our very first live Arena Futures which was aimed at anyone new to the industry or those who perhaps don't get the opportunity to go to many industry events and wanted to learn more about how to network. I'ld like to share with you my three key take-outs from the evening but before doing so, here's just a brief overview.
As many people know, I love going to events so as a result, I bump into a lot of familiar faces. When I arrived at The Glassblower I was delighted to see that I hardly knew anyone - which was great - lots of 'new faces' as it was what we wanted!
After everyone got to know each other over a few drinks it was time for our speakers to impart their wisdom and knowledge and I've got to say James Hacon, Emma Heal and Andrew Allen did an amazing job. The event was kicked off by James who gave our audience some great hints and tips on how to network - what preparation to do beforehand, how to approach people, what to talk about, the importance of listening, how to get away from people and most importantly - what NOT TO DO!!! He shared with us a few very interesting 'what not to do' anecdotes which I'm sure our guests will remember as well as giving people reassurance that it's okay to feel nervous and possibly uncomfortable in a room full of people you don't know and tips on how you can overcome this.
Next up was it was Emma and Andrew who interviewed each other on their career journeys to date and how making connections along the way have got them to where they are today. Andrew spoke of his early career days in advertising and his start-up roles and Emma talked about knowing exactly what she wanted from a certain job and how she became MD of Lucky Saint.
So my top 3 take outs and networking tips from this event are:
1. Do Not Sell: the last thing people want is to be sold to when attending an industry event. Find some common ground (not politics, religion or sport), make sure you say some interesting things but most of all listen to what the other person has to say
2. Be Discreet When You Eat: now this probably sounds a little odd as most events you go to, especially in hospitality involves eating and drinking. However, what this means is be mindful of when you eat - there is nothing worse than trying to have a conversation with someone when they are stuffing their face with canapes, crisps and snacks in the drinks reception!
3. Be Succinct in your Follow-Up: If you haven't connected on LinkedIn with the individuals you have met at an event (which you should have done BEFORE the event), don't send them 'chapter and verse' afterwards. Senior leaders do not have the time to wade through lengthy emails so be precise and to the point
So, a huge thank you to everyone who attended and our sponsors and event partners Unity Wines, Delifrance, Britvic Soft Drinks, AAK, Vestey Foods, Mission Foodservice, McCains Foodservice Solutions, Biff's, Susa Comms and Umbrella Insight.