Oh how we had fun at our speed networking event this week in association Moo! Yes you read that right, networking and fun in the same sentence.... see, Step Up does things differently.
We welcomed 70 eager - if a little apprehensive - women into The Apartment at The Hoxton, Holborn, on a rainy Monday night, but the weather (and frizz) did not dampen our our enthusiasm or networking resolve. The idea of the night was simple: orchestrated and speedy 5 minute networking slots interspersed with inspiring and informative networking stories from three of our favourite working women.
First up we heard from the amazingly well connected Andrea Thompson, Features Director at Marie Claire magazine. Andrea oversees the features contents for its global audience of over 6 million women, as well as heading up Marie Claire's @Work events franchise. Her top networking tips: take time to listen and research the event and attendees before you attend.
Next it was the turn of the sublimely gorgeous and hugely successful health food entrepreneur, Punch Food's Alexandra Dudley. For her, networking is about pinpointing who you need to speak to and doing everything in your power to get to that person. For Alex this included becoming a member of a chi-chi gym that she couldn't afford just to be able to access it's well connected clientele.
And last but not least, the wonderful Jo Tutchener-Sharp; ex-beauty PR who left her role as Head of Communications at Estee Lauder and Tom Ford Beauty to launch her own very successful agency - by way of a near marriage miss to Mark Owen (best story of the night Jo!). After suffering a life-changing health failure, Jo decided to launch Scamp and Dude, a children and women's wear brand that is as charitable as it is good-looking. For Jo, a self-confessed networking natural, her work contacts are her support system, her tickets to ride and her go-to's for every part of her career development.
There was an incredible buzz and noise in the room as our guests rotated around the space to meet new people, laugh, chat and breakdown their fears around networking. As we said in our introduction, networking is just conversations with a purpose - and as women, we're pretty good at chatting. So instead of getting stuck on the word networking, we always suggest that you change the rhetoric in your mind: instead think of networking as this scary concept, consider as just chatting.
The evening concluded with a challenge to our guests and one that we'll set you too: don't forget that networking isn't just meeting new people, it's keeping those contacts warm. And that's where Moo comes in.
So many of our lovely guests arrived with their newly printed business cards, and we urge you to create some too. There are so many options on the site - prints, great fonts, and plenty of possibilities to upload your own image. Moo makes business cards cool, unique and most importantly memorable.
Because when you make a new contact, as we've already said, you need to solidify that connection with a follow up email. Feel awkward about getting in touch? Try finding a relevant news feature link and send that on, or offer your services... whatever it takes, make your networking a living, breathing entity that helps makes you more successful.