Contacting Christine Esson from SBN was a fantastic first move. In one fell swoop, we received both a warm introduction to Joe – and an invitation along to the Scottish Business Network event in London in November.
The warm introduction was just a taste of what the network has to offer. Attending my first event, I experienced one of the friendliest atmospheres I’ve encountered in the networking arena. Perhaps no mean feat in the big smoke, going by my previous experiences – but considering I hail from Glasgow, it’s certainly high praise!
The whole concept of the Scottish Business Network is around helping your colleagues to find success, whether it’s through introductions, guidance or advice. The Scottish element itself certainly provides an instant rapport… there must be some kind of joke about it taking an event in London for companies from the East and West coast to get together! There was certainly a lot of energy in the room, and a real feeling of community, too.
I was delighted, and a little nervous, to be asked to speak by Christine at the January event. It’s one thing to mill around and converse with a friendly bunch, but standing in front of any crowd with an “ask” or two can be a daunting prospect for even the most brass necked of us. The “asks” themselves were a fantastic idea: a way of letting people know how they could help . Though it was simultaneously difficult to choose the best and worry of asking too much. Though of course, I needn’t have given it a second thought.
While I found the experience positive as a guest, as a speaker I was bowled over by the positivity and generosity of those in the room. Talking about Branding Boutique was easy – our story as a strategy led design and brand agency always raises a few (intrigued) eyebrows – and the Shy Weans Approach* proved to be a great success, with multiple offers of assistance against my own asks: introductions within Food & Drink, the opportunity to connect with Investor Groups (working with them on their brand portfolios) and the connections with those who would be happy to work in partnership with us within a variety of sectors.
At the end of the night, myself and the evening’s fellow speakers went home with both a very fair share of great contacts and offers of assistance – which followed on with some fantastic Linking In and continued connections. It’s not all in the getting, however. Being able to have meaningful conversations with others encourages a very giving atmosphere, and where possible we will certainly be giving back and helping others with their “asks,” too.
I’m delighted to be part of what I’m certain will be an incredibly successful network but what I also like to think of as a community of likeminded people – a community that works. It’s not just about gathering in one place, but what happens when you leave, wherever you are based. For one, I’m certainly looking forward to continuing the relationships that have formed already – and creating those to come!
*What do Shy Weans get?