Archive for the 'Networking' Category

Just a giving sort of person-3rd sector networking

August 22, 2008

First time guest post from Beccy Allen, Creative Director STEP ( Southwark Theatres’ Education Partnership).

So, when the Director of the biggest arts network organisation in your field and locality takes you out for lunch and suddenly asks, halfway through a plate of pasta, “So, why do you think you’re so good at networking?”, you suddenly realise that this is more than lunch at a lovely little Italian in Camberwell.

Following a few minutes’ discussion about his research paper on whether you can teach networking to those who are bad at it, I had a eureka moment about networking, fundraising and profile in the 3rd Sector.


The Director in question commented that I am a “natural networker” (why, thank you) because I’m not afraid to ask for anything, mainly because of always being willing and eager to help (that’s charity for you, darling). So, turns out that the profile of the arts charity I work for, STEP (Southwark Theatres’ Education Partnership) rests on the favours its Director asks for.

The cheekier she is, the more “What did STEP ask you for this week?” conversations that take place around the water coolers of plush, central London offices and the closer STEP gets to attracting just a little more funding and profile. Brilliant.

All non-natural networkers take note: ask for more; get more. Turns out Mums and Dads were right on that score.


Social media: the death of print?

March 12, 2008

I think we all knew the answer to the question before we turned up [extinction no, contraction yes], but some interesting conversation nonetheless. Held at the Charlotte Street Hotel, various social media ‘gurus’ gathered to discuss the impact of social media on traditional media.

It was interesting to see others picking up on the grey area of financial PR and blogs. The last frontier for social media, I’d suggest.

Thoughts from others here, here, here.

Charlotte St Hotel is a good venue for this sort of thing BTW, for those on the hunt.

Offline Networking – it still exists!

March 7, 2008

After my recent evangelisation about LinkedIn and its business benefit, yesterday’s invitation to join a Business Network International group in Notting Hill was timely. BNI is an interesting idea; it connects local businesses to one another through a weekly breakfast networking session and charges nearly £1000 a year! A sceptic and lacking sleep (the breakfast started at 6.45!) I made my way over to Kensington Church Street.

BNI exists across the world and in a number of different countries. Each local network is called a chapter and there can only be one industry represented per chapter, e.g. only one Lawyer, Vet, Stripper etc per group.

On arrival at ‘The Place’ in Notting Hill, The first thing I noticed about BNI is that its members seem more interested in referring you business that talking about their own. Even before I could take my jacket off, I was being pursued by an eager Interior Designer who wanted to know what Online Lead Generation and Affiliate Marketing could do for him!?

When the breakfast got underway, everyone was given 60 seconds to convey their key messages about who they are and what they do, before circulating around the room with croissants and coffee.

With about 45 minutes left we then got to the ‘referrals’ section. Dotted around the room were little sheets of paper with empty spaces in which to fill in referrals for other businesses. To give you an example, the accountant in the chapter referred one of his clients to the hypnotherapist. The photographer referred a potential client to the IFA. The web designer gave a glowing reference for the property finder… and this went on, and on, and on…. Through this small local network, this ‘chapter’ were effectively working as their own local lead generation network.

BNI won’t be for everyone and its cost makes it an expensive marketing cost. However if you run your own PR agency or are in charge of bringing in new business, it’s definitely something you should consider.

The Notting Hill BNI had an effective motto – it’s not the people in this room you are aiming to gain as clients, it’s all the people they know! A very interesting idea.

PR and Comms Network – PR Enthusiast wanted!

October 30, 2007

Are you passionate about PR, new media, Facebook and forward features? Would you like to join the PR and Comms Network team as an event organiser, a networker, a blogger and a discussion starter?

We are looking for a young PR to join us here at the PR and Comms network, to help run the group.

If you think you might be suitable and would like to get involved, please send no more than 100 words to by Friday 9th November, explaining why you would like to join the team.

Alain and Alex

PR Week and Facebook

May 30, 2007

So, following our mention in PR Week, we thought it’d be timely to round up the blog comment about the article, and on recent developments on Facebook more generally.

Drew Bwas unimpressed by the article, although possibly underestimates the numbers outside tech PR who would be interested in hearing more about Facebook. He is clearly a fan of the PR potential of ‘The Book’ anyway.

Stephen Davies blogged twice about Facebook recently, once to illustrate his difficulty at keeping up with all of his digital acquintances, and again on the new brand power of Facebook.

Facebook’s announcement of new applications which run inside the network demonstrate the scale of both their ambition, and how total their hold over young [and increasingly older] users’ communications is. Email, instant message, and photo-sharing, all inside one service; what’s not to like, right? Remember though, that power can be harnessed for more than just the ‘I’ll go slightly out of my way to stand on that crunchy looking leaf’ or ‘Wingman’s handbook‘ groups.

Where Facebook succeeds is in the seamless integration between on and off-line networks. There is no distinction between the people we socialise with via Facebook, and those who get together at PR and Comms Network drinks. Likewise it is this which makes it so appealing for brands. The Apple and Ernst and Young groups are a way to bring your physical presence on-line, into a personal space, to an audience who will see little distinction between your physical and online manifestations.

We’re unashamedly keen on Facebook, largely because we’ve seen the way it has changed the way students interacted during our time at university, and even how colleagues interact since it went ‘public’ last September. For PRs it is also worth remembering this is an area you can add significant value to senior colleagues’ awareness and understanding of emerging communications tools. As members of David Miliband’s ‘Facebook Generation’you posess experiences and perceptions which will shape the future.

PR and Comms Drinks- Round 3

May 21, 2007

Returning to the place of its birth, PR and Comms headed to Bar Polski in Holborn, but would it be third time lucky? With over 700 members on the Facebook group, and healthy interest in the blog, thanks to our two star PR profiles, (Tom and Miriam) a good turnout was anticipated Rather disappointingly the weather didn’t match our enthusiasm and a dull grey Thursday in May hardly set the scene! Undeterred, however, the industry’s finest grabbed their drinks from the bar and headed for the ‘patio’.

There was a good showing from a number of different agencies and newcomers from Firefly, Burston Marstellar, Spreckley Partners and PWK were joined by seasonsed PR and Comms networkers from Geronimo, Fishburn Hedges, Edelman, Weber Shandwick, 77 and Biss Lancaster. Also new to the drinks were a number of freelancers and a few potential PR’s who had heard about the drinks via Facebook and came to see what all the fuss was about.

With the polite introductions out of the way, it wasn’t long before the buzz of conversation ensued and plans for world domination soon began to flow, aided nicely by the Polish Beer.

A good nights work and a few sore heads the next day – Bring on the next one!

Are you a PR Darling?

April 27, 2007

PR degree or not, one thing the industry can universally agree upon is that your usefulness (and therefore pay packet) depends heavily on who you know, where you met them and whether they can help you. Networking has been for far too long solely focused on journalist ‘schmoozing’. Although knowledge of who writes the relevant columns for your client is essential, graduates coming into the industry can hardly be expected to pitch up to the various business editors on the national newspapers and get the cheque book out!

More than anything they don’t have the time to waste, and neither do you – Those media lists won’t build themselves!

When we were setting up the PR and Communications Network on Facebook we wanted to quash the stereotype that all PR’s were after an airkissing night out, something we apparently share with – I’m unconvinced about the offer of a free tee-shirt, however! We don’t offer free items of clothing, we can’t promise love [although some of us live in hope!]…. But we’d love to see you at the PR and Comms drinks at Bar Polski on May 17th.