I’ve really missed networking over the past year. I love the spontaneous nature of it; the way that you never quite know who you will meet and the amazing opportunities that it could bring. I enjoy the thrill of stepping into a room with a bunch of like-minded people who are all there to meet new faces and broaden their networks. But I don’t just like networking because I enjoy it; I also believe that networking offers very credible and serious benefits for all businesses.
I’m a sociable creature but I am aware that may make me a rare breed in the live events industry. The majority of people in live events are people who, although they love live, they don’t want to actually be the live performance. They are the do-ers, the people who make live performances happen, but often they are uncomfortable with performing themselves. They are the detail people, not the divas, the producers, not the performers. It takes all sorts to make the world go round and we can’t all be the ones who enjoy the limelight; there simply would be too many of us clambering for centre stage. But unfortunately, I do think that this trait could make a lot of my industry colleagues feel quite shy and socially awkward when it comes to getting out there, promoting a brand and meeting new faces.
This is where working with a new business agency like ours brings real benefits. We represent brands not just over the phone or in emails, but in the real, live world too. We are great at reading the room, and in reading people and their personalities. We pick up on the way our clients talk, and how they hold themselves and we understand their morals and ethics. We are chameleons and we spend time getting to know how our clients feel and how they need to be represented, so we can then introduce their brand to the new contacts we meet. We can represent their business at trade shows, exhibitions and of course networking events.
The world has changed and I acknowledge that online meetings have their place, but NOTHING beats getting face to face with your peers and colleagues. When you meet in person you commit the time and space to really get to know them, to properly connect and understand what makes them tick. A Zoom call tends to be short and focused on the business to be discussed, which can be great if you are short on time, but it doesn’t allow you to relax, chew the fat, to become better acquainted and to actually build a relationship.
People who know me would probably say that I haven’t always been a fan of certain annual industry trade shows. Traditionally, they were the place for the same faces to meet, year in year out and I feel they just didn’t offer much more than a really expensive floor plan. This year is different though; for the first time in my life, I’m looking forward to attending PLASA in September because it is going to be an amazing reunion of our industry. It feels like it has an actual purpose. If you fancy a coffee or a beer, do get in touch. It will be great to meet up in real life; I hope to see you there!