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Why BizNet is good for my health but I still can’t stand on my head.

Lynne Orton

It’s been a fabulous week;  I’m writing this on Thursday, following two really successful events – our Cardiff Lunch on Tuesday and the Cardiff Breakfast on Wednesday morning.  I still get really concerned that it all goes well, though you’d think that after running BizNet for 14 years I’d be used it by now and I should be able to do it standing on my head. (I can’t stand on my head at home, so I don’t know why the saying goes that I might do it when running a networking event. Still, it’s food for thought for a possible future event, but I’d have to practise.)

Cardiff lunch was at the Marriott – in town.  The Marriott staff are excellent and proactively approach each member as they arrive to offer them a drink. I’m also surprised that they even remember some of the members’ names.  I overhear one of our members quiz and complement them about this and they simply reply that it is what Marriott call “the WOW factor” and that this is normal. 

“Tidy!” says the impressed member to a bemused-looking English waitress, who isn’t familiar with the Welsh colloquialism.  He grins and says “Wow!” to clarify what he means and she smiles back and moves on.

I’ve opted for the standard set meal today. Sometimes I go for the vegan option and fruit salad. When you do as much networking as I do, you have to take the “damage limitation” approach when it comes to food consumption. Going vegan can (with my rules) often net you about eleven of your “five a day” fruit and veg  portions. Wash it all down with half a litre of water and surely that’s a mandate to do what you want for the rest of the day when it comes to food and drink? J

Before long we are sitting for lunch. I don’t host tables, so I get to have a break for a bit. I’m on Huw Johns’ table. Huw has been a member for 13 or so years; he also runs my Cardiff breakfast group and is a bit of a maverick. Huw likes to do “icebreakers” around the table, to precede each person’s talk about their business.  To be fair, they always go well and really start people socialising and getting to know each other, but I always worry what he’s going to come up with next.  This time, it seems straightforward – he’s asked for our favourite hotels in the UK. This is not an easy one for me as we have a few hotels as members and I don’t want to favour any one of them so when it comes to my turn I am suitably non committal, mentioning a random hotel I once stayed in in the Cotswolds.

There are some interesting answers, many of which provoke some discussion and banter. We loop around the table with contributions from Katrina Acorn Recruitment, Sarah from Cardiff Business School,  James from Workstrong,  Peter from Washington Design, and also BizNet and Just Huw Johns.  It comes to Benjamin from Berry Smith Solicitors Family Law department and he can picture his favourite hotel but can’t remember its name. An odd sort of question-and-answer game ensues before the correct answer – the Gliffaes Hotel in Crickhowell – is worked out. 

Business connections are springing up too as we enjoy the fun. It’s an old tradition at BizNet that when a connection is made, someone taps the side of a glass with a spoon to produce a dinging sound. Some events can be so prolific that it’s like being at a Church Bellringers Christmas party, with different pitches being emitted from glasses with varying quantities of water in them. Once – at a breakfast that we were holding at a new hotel – the waiters had mistaken the “dings” as a request for more toast. It took a while to realise what was going on as everyone was focussed on doing business. However, it quickly because apparent that whenever a ding was sounded to make a connection, a waiter scuttled away to return with another rack of toast which was placed next to the untouched ones he had brought a few minutes ago.

The lunch wraps up with a thought-provoking presentation from Cardiff Business School, who are running a series of educational talks at our events. This one was about collaborative working. Afterwards, as I’m taking to speaker, Sarah Lethbridge – Director of Executive Education, I am interrupted by a returning member, who pays me a lovely compliment about how productive and enjoyable our events are.

Tidy – I think! Or Wow. (Depending on your point of view).  

PS Breakfast at Miss Jones yesterday was just as much fun and as manic; now I'm off to our West Wales BizNet lunch at Machynys Golf Club for even more delicious food and more great networking....what a fantastic job I have (even though I still can't stand on my head)


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