I wrote a blog last year around my first-ever networking event with Downtown in Business.
That was September 2022. Since then, I have made steady progress in networking and expanding my comfort zone.
So, in late July, I was contacted by Beth McKenna at Downtown in Business and told I had been 'nominated' by DiB sales director David Matthews to take part in a filming event whereby I would sit down with another business leader and have a 20-minute discussion. The purpose is to promote both businesses on how we got to know each other and other areas of our organisation.
I remember getting the invite and muttering under my breath, another fantastic opportunity to expand out of my comfort zone. I thought “Aren’t I so lucky!” I did not think that. My real initial thought was 'How can I get my own back on David for putting me through this ordeal?'
They told me that I did not need to do any prep and my one-to-one would be with the lovely Elaine Courtney, a director at Courtney Recruitment in Liverpool.
Weirdly, as the day grew closer, my anxiety levels had not risen but I knew they would. To help with this, I had arranged for our new marketing coordinator, Emmanuel, to come along with me and use the opportunity to meet the team at DiB and start building up his online content.
The build-up to the event did not start very well. I picked up Manny and we headed off down the M62 towards Liverpool with plenty of time to spare. The traffic Gods had other ideas. The M62 was closed just after Warrington due to a vehicle fire. We had to use the backroads to get to Liverpool. An omen of ill intent or just the usual M62 shenanigans, but we would not have long to find out.
As we got out of the lift at the Downtown offices, I had my first real mini panic as the butterflies came racing through my stomach which were not helped as we walked into the DiB offices to find the video room set up in all its glory. There were multiple cameras, microphones, lights, and an empty chair just for me.
Introductions out of the way, down a quick glass (or two) of Prosecco, and we were whisked into the room of doom and to face the cameras quite literally. Mic’d up and ready to go, we were given a quick rundown of the session. A quick introduction to the camera followed with a chat on how Elaine and I met, and then on to randomly drawn questions from the bowl of destiny.
We settled and did our introductions before getting down to the questions. The questions included everything from who would play me in the movie version of Red Rock Communications to my favourite restaurant, and the most boring fact about me.
I should have known better than to worry and the 20 minutes of filming flew by, helped by lots of laughs and good memories. Well, move over Leo and Kate because there is a new duo in town! Elaine and I did well and were incredibly happy with how the session went.
Manny made the most of the afternoon and took more photos and videos than I ever thought possible along with making me realise the lack of attention I have been giving marketing at Red Rock.
After the event, we drove back down the M62, passing the burnt-out wreck of what used to be an excessively big truck, discussing everything from travelling to personal growth. Reflecting on the afternoon, I thought about how last year the thought of networking filled me with dread and now that has passed, my comfort zone has expanded again.
My only worry... what will I have to do this time next year.
Many thanks to David, Chris, Beth, and everyone at DiB and of course Elaine for being a fun and engaging partner in crime.
Hopefully, I will get many more opportunities to have fun with other people I meet through networking and the chance to take part in more activities like this one. Until next time….