Heywood House News

Light Bites with… Philippa Constable – Highlights

The second installment in the series of our BRAND NEW virtual lunchtime talks, ‘Light Bites’ welcomed Networking expert, Philippa Constable, who hosted an engaging discussion on the power of networking and how to make it work for you.

Philippa is well-known within the business community for her incredible networking expertise and being the founder and owner of the widely acclaimed networking organisations, We Mean Biz and Women Mean Biz, which is now the largest business networking platform for professional woman in the South West.

In this session, Philippa helps us to explore how to network with authenticity, sharing her personal journey, and experiences to offer tips and advice on how to network effectively and achieve the best results.

So, weather you are new to networking, familiar or a dab hand at these events, you will most definitely be able to take something away from this discussion with Philippa to help you on your networking journey, read on to find out more…

 

How it all began

Philippa has an extensive background in business development and sales and decided to start networking to make connections and meet potential clients after buying her first business back in 2005. Like many of us at the beginning of our networking journeys, Philippa found herself nervous, anxious and unsure of what to expect from the event but as time went on, Philippa’s passion for networking grew, leading her to become a business networking expert, speaker and trainer. However, Philippa found that there was something missing from all these networking groups and wanted to create a supportive and friendly environment for businesswomen to connect in which is when she launched Women Mean Biz in 2008. After the huge success of this networking group, Philippa then decided to branch out and launch We Mean Biz to accommodate both women and men from the business community.

 

What is Networking?

Networking is the process of interacting with others who can be helpful to one another professionally. These groups are aimed to provide business owners with the space to meet others and plant relations which over time, can become a great friendship and ally within the business world.

Networking is NOT collecting contacts for your database!

 

Where to start

So, before you book on to that networking event, Philippa suggests taking a few things into consideration which will help you on your journey.

  • How will you network? Remember not everyone is networking for the same reasons, some may be looking for more clients, others may be seeking services, and some may just be looking to make friends with other business owners.
  • What are you looking for? Each networking group has its own style, format and emphasise, so be sure to research the ones in your local area to find a suitable group to match your needs.
  • Why? Be clear on your objectives and your reasons for networking, whether your looking to grow your business, get more referrals or just increase your connections within the local business community.
  • Where? Try out different networking groups, have a look for somewhere that is simple and accessible and see what works for you.
  • When? Again, you need to find a group that will easily fit in to your busy schedule.
  • Who? Think of the sort of people you are looking to meet and connect with, again, setting clear objectives beforehand is a great place to start.

 

How to be effective

  1. Make friends with people, there is no better place to start than some good old fashioned ‘getting to know you’.
  2. The best communicators are those who listen, so opt for open-ended questions when you go networking with an intention to see if you can help others, and remember that nobody wants to be sold to, instead be curious and ask questions.
  3. Choose an organisation with consistent members so you can build friendships and form bonds with people, as referrals only come when people trust you and that takes time and consistency.
  4. Think long term and go for depth and build deeper relationships with fewer people. Remember, you are more likely to refer people you have known for years rather than a couple of weeks.
  5. Be recognised as a great communicator, try not to lose sight of your own objectives but helping others will make you an attractive person to know and in return, others will want to help you.
  6. Remember, ‘we rise by lifting others.’

 

What is your networking strategy?

This is Philippa’s strategy to networking but as mentioned before, to get from 1 – 5, takes time and trust but is absolutely worth putting the effort in for!

  1. Identify; identify your key people, your ideal client, who would be a great referral, work out who will be a great person to build a relationship with.
  2. Connect; start communicating with these people and begin building a relationship
  3. Engage; 1-2-1’s are the key to successful networking. Spending an hour or two on a regular basis will help to build the relationship and trust, this is where you will start seeing the referrals flow.
  4. Collaborate; taking your friendship to the next level. When forming friendships with people who have the same target audience, you can join forces and take on bigger projects together.
  5. Inner circle; this is your ‘tribe’, your small group of 3-5 people who you totally trust and regularly refer.

Remember, it’s not who you know, its who knows you, and the more you network, the more visible you become!

 

Mistakes of Networking

  • Not committing to the networking process, those who are not consistent will end up just wasting theirs and others’ time.
  • Those who are too busy collecting business cards to add to their contact database and not actually taking the time to meet and engage with people.
  • Don’t use every opportunity to try and sell to someone, people don’t like it and as a result, they will end up avoiding you at all future networking events.
  • Arrive on time and don’t leave early. Remember that you are trying to build your reputation and bad time management doesn’t look good on you.

 

Final thought

Remember that business is about personal contact, no matter how busy your workload, everyone should try and make time to network. If you approach networking using Philippa’s tips and strategies, then you should achieve better results for both you and your business.

‘If people like you, they listen to you. If people trust you, they will do business with you.’

 

Philippa is always looking for guest speakers for her networking events and would love to hear from those who are interesting in speaking opportunities to build their profile and show expertise. You can get in contact with Philippa at philippa@wemeanbiz.co.uk. Alternatively, you can connect with Philippa on LinkedIn.

If you would like to attend one of Philippa’s networking groups, these are the nearest groups that are available locally and can also be found on Facebook;

  • Women Mean Biz – Wiltshire
  • We Mean Biz – Bath

 

If you would like to attend our next Light Bites virtual lunchtime talk, our next instalment in the series will see the return of inspirational writer and professional speaker, Simon Tyler. Simon, one of the world’s leading business coaches will be hosting this session on Thursday 24th September 1-2pm via Zoom.

Join us for your ‘lunch break’ and enjoy an engaging discussion from Simon as well as a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with those from the business community from the comfort of your own home!

Tickets can be booked here: https://www.heywoodhouse.com/events-calendar/