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NETworking or NOTworking?

Friday 8 April 2016 3.51pm

Jan Bailey, Marketing Manager at Hoople Ltd

As a regular attendee of networking events, I sometimes ask myself whether the time spent chatting over a croissant and coffee with fellow networkers is time well spent.

Herefordshire has a lively networking calendar: first Tuesday club, last Thursday club, Inspire (for business women) and the Chamber of Commerce’s regular programme, to mention just a few. Most are held out of regular office hours; some you have to pay for, others are free of charge.

As someone who barely talks to her family in the mornings, I find the breakfast events particularly challenging. Yet, once I’ve braced myself for the early start and taken the first step into the networking venue, I generally do enjoy talking to other business people. But is it good for business?

Business in Herefordshire is to a large extent based on word of mouth recommendation and relationship building. Networking is an important part of that.

By attending regular events and getting known in the right circles, Hoople will become more widely known and businesses will hopefully come to us if they need, for example help with training, apprenticeships or recruitment.

There will always be those who are best avoided: the individual who isn’t interested in your business but talks endlessly about theirs; the one who hijacks your discussions and others who don’t know when they’ve outstayed their welcome – after all, networking isn’t about talking to the same person for the duration of the event.

On balance, however, I think that by following a few simple rules of engagement, networking is well worth getting up or staying late for.

In the spirit of good networking, Hoople is hosting its own Open Evening on Wednesday 27 April. It would be great to see a wide range of businesses represented. Further details are available on this website and we hope you will be able to join us.

PS: don’t forget your business cards!

Jan Bailey, Marketing Manager at Hoople

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