The snow must go on…!

President, Mike Fox opened the March Breakfast Matters meeting at the Cresta Court Hotel, greeting the room and acknowledging a great turnout despite snowfall on the first day of spring!

Mike announced a change in the speaker line-up, as original speaker John Green was unable to attend to deliver his presentation on GDPR, ahead of its launch in May 2018, due to the weather conditions – he was snowed up in Saddleworth!  Mike apologised to new and prospective members for the unexpected change, encouraging them to attend another GDPR event which we will rearrange before the deadline date and reassured all guests that thankfully, David Bellin of The Web Studio and A&SCC Chair, had agreed to step-in and deliver a talk called ‘Networking for Numpties’.


David presented his ten top tips for networking, including some practical hints for making the most out of networking activity:

  • Plan your networking: Know who will be in the room. Find out in advance who is likely to attend, how they are connected to your friends and colleagues and what you might be able to offer or get from new people you meet.
  • Go prepared: Take business cards, leaflets and memorable material. You should also make the most of the space on your business card to help people you meet to remember you. Use both sides to easily explain who you are and what you do.
  • Relax: Be yourself, make a personal connection by finding out what people are interested in and it doesn’t have to be work related. Don’t forget to smile. (Some Ooh’s and Aah’s came from the audience at this point with pictures of a man getting massaged were followed by cute cosied up baby!)
  • Handshake: A relaxed grip. Position your name badge on your right side if you use your right hand to shake to display your badge easily. This instigated a bit of shuffling as the audience repositioned their badges ready for networking again at the end of the presentations.
  • Listen: Actively listening will aid your recall. Reading the signals for body language that will show interest, whether it’s an open conversation, welcome others. (At this point of the presentation, David asked Martin Hambleton, Peter Collins and Mike Fox to demonstrate, whose acting entertained a few giggles across the room!)
  • Elevator pitch: Think about what it is that you do in twelve words or less.
  • How to leave a conversation: Use your manners and be polite. Give people permission to leave a discussion and thank them for their time and participation. But don’t ‘dump’ someone who is alone, make an introduction and welcome someone else to the conversation, offer to grab a coffee which will give them an option to join you or know that you’re leaving the conversation.
  • Don’t be an ass: Don’t make assumptions about others.
  • Follow-up after the event: Did you make any promises to share details, information or arrange a meeting? Then do it!
  • Remembering people: Share a story to make you more memorable. And make notes on the back of the contact’s card to help your recall, which will make it easier to follow up afterwards.
  • Continue to develop your skills, identify areas you’d like to improve on and work on them.

Mike Fox shared an anecdote relating to a networking group, which highlighted the benefits of following the tips shared by David, and how it can benefit your business.

Mike welcomed speaker Michelle Cohen from the charity Prevent Breast Cancer (formerly Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention), who thanked David for his wonderful examples of the benefits of networking. Michelle wanted to inform all attendees that the charity are hoping to ‘paint Altrincham pink’. As the only charity that focuses purely on prevention, based at Wythenshawe Hospital, aiming to stop the incidence of the disease from growing. Increasing awareness of the charity to help increase the potential for fundraising and encourage supporters to fundraise on the charity’s behalf. The charity will be attending and hosting multiple events across Altrincham throughout the 12th-18th March to help raise awareness and increase donations, with support from local businesses who are offering out pink themed services and products. On the 15th March there will be a FREE networking events hosted by Holt Business Support also.

Mike then introduced Peter Collins from Find and Be Found who shared his thoughts on social media profile picture photography opportunities. Peter stated that Linked In users often don’t have a profile picture that is fit for purpose, and he would like to arrange professional photography sessions with the Chamber’s award-winning photographer Martin Hambleton. The profile photo sessions are intended to conveniently take place Chamber networking events at a reduced cost should there be enough interest from attendees, offering 3 pictures for £40 and starting from 12th April. Contact Peter or Anne Jardine to make a booking.

Mike thanked Rina for producing the Chambers Matter online newsletter, filled with interesting and helpful content for members of the Chamber, and invited members to speak to Rina to find out how the team at MiniMe could support them with their marketing and communications, and raising their profile through the Chamber newsletters.

Attention then turned to the business card draw, with Membership and Business Development Manager Paul Mirage drawing the first business card, and Ged Murray from Insure Risk was the winner of the Cresta Court Meal for Two. The second draw was carried out by Peter Collins, who awarded Mark Cottam of Laing O’Rourke with a LinkedIn healthcare check.
The third Breakfast Matters of 2018 concluded with an announcement of upcoming events. Mike Fox invited attendees to join him for the Presidents Evening at Sale FC, a celebration of Mike becoming the new President of Altrincham and Sale Chamber of Commerce.

The next Breakfast Matters was announced for 12th April 2018, a little later in the month due to the spring break. The next event will feature guest speakers Malcolm Storer and Luke Bembridge from MBL Business and Tax Advisors as they cover the ‘Spring Tax Update’.

Attendees were also advised of an upcoming SUBS event on 15th March, the ‘Power of the Collective’ which will focus on encouraging businesses to work collaboratively and to see the mutual benefits of partnering with others.

The Power of the Collective was definitely felt at this month’s Breakfast Matters and David Bellin was thanked for adopting the multiple roles of speaker and photographer. Cresta Court were thanked for sponsoring the breakfast as always, and attendees were thanked once again for travelling in such difficult conditions.


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