exactly my point! This is why people actually don't like networking events, because they feel they have to sell themselves or they need to listen to others, giving them a sales speech they don't want to hear.
Last weekend, I went to an international fair here in The Hague, and the vast number of networks that exist already was a bit discouraging for me at first. But then I remembered that I've been to some of them and really did not enjoy it, because everyone was just there to talk about their business. That's absolutely not what I want to do. I want to form personal relationships on the basis of helping each other out. The events are there to connect. To have fun together and to get to know new people. Not to promote your business. (The other part will be online, but also there, offering your services will be only in RESPONSE to people's queries. Otherwise it'd be advertising...)
I made 2 new contacts that day at the fair. I did not have a stand of my own, I visited other people's stands. I met a painter, who had a painting of a doorknob behind him on display, which I found really funny, so we started talking. He's from Washington and just arrived in the Netherlands. I have an Italian friend who is a painter, too, has family in Washington and loves it so much she wants to move there. Turns out this painter also speaks Italian! My Italian friend happened to be at the fair, too, so I got her and introduced them and they were like, "We HAD to meet today!" He's now in my network. I also saw the stand of a photographer and fell in love with her photos. I complimented her on them and she just smiled and said thank you. She did not give me a sales pitch, she just let her photos speak for themselves. I took her contact details, emails her a few days later and she joined my network. This is how I like it.
I also met a personal assistent kind of person, who gave me a whole rehearsed speech on what she does and how beneficial her services would be to me (not knowing that I'm offering the same kind of services when coaching small business owners). So I found out all about her, including her prices and dediced I'd rather hire me when given the choice between her and me
. I did not invite her to my network. Not because we'd be competition, I'm not too keen on doing admin assistance anyway, but just because she doesn't fit into my vision of this network.
I've been to Michael's coaching mastery course in Amsterdam last year, so of course a variation on the cool speed coaching thingy is on my list, haha! Maybe not for the first event but for later ones.
Hey, I'm commuting between The Hague and Exeter a lot, maybe we can organize something between Southampton and Exeter some day!