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Networking, anniversaries and people: thoughts on the Highland Spotlight Exhibition

Our company marked its 7th anniversary yesterday, and a busy day it was. We exhibited at Highland Spotlight, a trade show organised by Inverness Chamber of Commerce. It was a bustling day at the Drumossie Hotel, filled with more than 60 local companies.

I was reminded of the value of personal connections as I chatted with dozens of visitors and with the other exhibitors as the day progressed. You never can tell with whom you are going to connect.

Bruce PR stand at Highland Spotllight

Our stand at Highland Spotlight was unattended from 11:45am, but this didn’t stop us from making some valuable connections during lunch

I had the good fortune, during my scheduled early lunch in the atrium outside the exhibition space, to be asked by Mairi Macauly of New Start Highland, if she and her colleague could join me at my table.

Mairi and Isobel were able to tell me a lot about New Start Highland. I had already been acquainted with the charity, as a donor and as a customer of their furniture shop on Church Street in Inverness city centre.

Having worked with a number of social enterprises in Northern Ireland as well as in Canada, I find theirs a compelling sector, with innumerable opportunities for touching people’s lives in a profound way. We had an interesting and lively discussion, and in retrospect, it turned out to be a very productive business meeting, in addition to a very pleasant lunch.

And that’s the miracle of connecting with people. You never know who it is you are going to make a connection with, or ultimately, where that connection may lead. But you can be sure of one thing: if you don’t speak to people, the odds are good that you’ll not make those connections.

If there is one bit of advice I could impart, it would be to convince the chronically shy people in this world to do anything they can to get over that shyness. I was a very shy child, and somewhere along the way, my shyness started to fade. Perhaps it was working as a waitress during the summers in university, where my American guests were just so damn friendly and out-going, how could you not respond to them?

Whatever it was, I am grateful for it. Not being handicapped by shyness has done my career the world of good. I encourage anyone who is troubled by their fears of speaking to new people to look into skills to help them to cope more effectively. It will change your career, as well as your personal life, profoundly for the better.

5 simple ways to network more effectively

That's me in the cream jacket on the left. Networking at a recent Inverness Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Loch Ness Country House Hotel.

That’s me in the cream jacket on the left. Networking at a recent Inverness Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Loch Ness Country House Hotel.

Like it cheap mlb jerseys or not, networking is an important part of any businessperson’s remit. Whether you are an entrepreneur like me, or if you work for a large organisation, getting out and meeting people should be something you regularly make time for. Even if you don’t envision your organisation having “customers” per se, there are still many benefits to be had from networking.

I happen to enjoy networking, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Regardless, it is in your best interest to try to become more comfortable in these kinds of situations.

If you are nervous about networking but have taken the leap to sign up to attend a networking event, here are five simple tips to help you make the most of this opportunity:

  1. Bring business cards. It may seem obvious, but it’s remarkable how many people neglect to ensure they have enough to share around.
  2. Dress your best. It may be superficial, but your appearance says a lot about you and the company you represent. Take the time to make sure you are sending the best message.
  3. Speak to people! The purpose of attending these events is to broaden your social and business networks. If you don’t make contact with people, you may as well have N?i stayed in the hard office. Remember that many of the people attending the event may also be cheap jerseys shy — don’t let this stop you from introducing yourself and asking if they are enjoying themselves.
  4. Remember that people do business with people they know.┬áIt sounds simple enough, but you may not have considered cheap nfl jerseys it: the more people you know, the more successful your business is likely to be. Networking events are a tremendous opportunity not only to meet new people, but to get reacquainted with people you have met before. If you are fortunate enough to to run into people you have met before, but don’t really know, a networking event presents the ideal opportunity to develop your relationship.
  5. Follow up! After meeting new people at an event, follow up your initial contact by dropping them a line by email.. You could even give them Votolato a ring! See if they are on Twitter, and if help so, follow them with your business account.

Effective networking is not brain surgery. Like most things that make someone successful, the key is developing a few good habits, and sticking with them.

I must dash now, I want to make sure Youre I look my best for this afternoon’s networking session.