As a business owner with aspirations to grow our client base in the South and in particular to realise the potential to compete in the London market, when a client invited me to the newly founded Scottish Business network meetings I was delighted.
The community, which I would say we are fast becoming, is professional, supportive, ambitious and welcoming. But, I believe like any and most networking events and indeed life, it’s more about what you put into these events than what you get out. I was therefore pleased to take up Christine’s offer to present on Tuesday evening when she required a stand in. What an opportunity how could I say no? A captive audience of business owners and London Professionals keen to hear about my business. No brainer.
Despite my delight at this opportunity, my bubble very nearly burst when I discovered I was to be the third presentation of the evening following two esteemed Doctors! Not only Doctors, but clearly experienced speakers with the ability to capture and amuse the audience. Nerves…. “how am I going to follow this?” was what I was thinking. Trying a new approach in my presentation style, my first request to the audience was to stand up and lean over. All obliged. Thank goodness! Relief- Breathe- Tick. I had overcome my first hurdle.
I have state that the benefit of speaking at this forum is incredibly useful. Not just to receive an ego boost from the kind congratulations and reassurances afterwards that my presentation did in fact make sense (my secret fear was that I forgot the main points!), but because it opens up conversations and contacts that may have otherwise taken a few more months of relationship building to achieve. Why is this the case? Credibility predominantly I guess. Through this format, you are able to showcase your experience, your philosophy to your business and educate the audience about your market place. For me this opportunity is not about selling necessarily, in fact I don’t believe that is the SBN objective either. However, “the ask” that presenters are required to make to the audience at the end of their presentation can be a useful exercise that all members should consider doing at some point, regardless of whether they present or not. Especially, as this really helped me to refocus on my purpose and reasons for being part of the network and enabled me to appreciate how as attendees we can together help each other collectively grow our businesses.