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29th June 2015

Over the past month I decided I would attend some Networking events – like many I’m sure, I was a little unsure what to expect, if I would have to do anything embarrassing like speak in public or even worse, what to wear!?!

I’ve been getting involved in a few Facebook Groups, mostly geared towards women, and often saw the posts about events cropping up.

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The first one was an easy choice; PNE Business Club. As I had already attended their 8 week business course it made sense to see what new people I can meet and talks to hear.

Cris Napier whom ran the course, was there to meet and greet at Grosvenor Casino, St. James’ Boulevard, Newcastle, and got me signed in. You can put your business card in the pot to win a prize, which I happened to draw this time. The food spread was well-timed and tasty! I got to chat to a few people then we all huddled into the room for the presentation.

For June we had Aude from Business & IP Centre Newcastle talking about Intellectual Property, then Andrew and Pete taking us through some marketing, with Freddo prizes to boot! I didn’t get to stay the evening, however you can get the chance to network more and learn how to play on the poker tables.

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I then attended a Networking Mummies Tyne & Wear branch meeting, at Osbornes bar, Jesmond, Newcastle. The place was empty bar the attendees, but tea and coffee was available to buy and you get a free cake too (always a good thing).

Lesley Hawke runs the branch and was very welcoming. There was five of us in total which was actually nice because you had more time to chat and get to know the other members. We all introduced ourselves, then discussed topics such as work/life balance, social media and Lesley explained more about the Networking Mummies and her plans for future events. It was on for 2 hours, but I could’ve stayed longer it was so nice meeting the other ladies and I think we all came away with fresh ideas.

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Finally I attended the Inspire Network Sunderland branch meeting, held at Speculation Business Centre, Concord, Washington. I invited along my colleague, graphic designer Chris, who was also representing his partner Rachael who is looking to run her own business in the coming year.

The bad weather didn’t seem to deter members or dampen spirits – plenty of warm drinks were on offer and cakes too (noticing a trend? hehe). The speaker today was Michelle Ross from Custard and Bear, and she took us through some great Marketing tips and tricks, with a handy printout. Afterwards we got a chance to exchange business cards and chat amongst ourselves. Our host was Fiona Simpson and she told us that sadly despite there being over 4,000 members only around 100 actually sign up for membership. Considering the benefits I’ve already completing my application!

I’d like to think I have generated a bit of exposure for my business, I certainly got rid of a lot of cards, but I definitely took away more from the talks and social aspect than I could have imagined. Overall I would definitely be looking to attend some events in July, perhaps look into some of the other Networking groups in the region – any recommendations?

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