If you told me I’d be attending networking meetings with Missy, my faithful furry canine friend, this year I don’t know if I’d have believed you. It was the introduction of the lockdown restrictions which forced the change from face to face business networking to the new virtual meetings taking place every day of the week. Now that networking takes place from my home-office, Missy can come to virtual meetings with me.
As strange as it sounds, I have a bigger choice of meetings I can attend than ever before. Before the lockdown, travelling to multiple meetings in one day was both cost and time prohibitive. Now instead of spending hours in the car, I can spend more time with Missy and more time working on my business.
If anyone’s happy I’m spending more time at home, it’s Missy. She’s never far from my desk and always attentively looking for signs in my working day. She knows the second I’ve finished with a document and can stop for a tummy rub. She knows if I’m about to make a phone call, and of course, she knows when it’s time for walkies!
This brings me to a top networking tip. Always listen and listen attentively to the person you’re with. You never know where the conversation might lead. A great friend of mine, Stefan Thomas, has a saying that
“every big opportunity starts with a little conversation”
and this is so true. Dogs are great listeners. They pick up on verbal and non-verbal clues and with practice, we can too.
Another top tip I’ve learnt from Missy is that practice does make perfect. From learning to walk, to clean herself, to bark, to sit, lie down, roll over, offer her paw, Missy has plenty of patience and has learnt her skills to perfection. I only need to head for the coat cupboard and she’s by my side wagging her tail because she knows a walk is imminent.
Missy gives me a great excuse to leave my desk at least once a day for a good hour of exercise around our local park. Being outdoors in the fresh air is good for my health too. While we walk, we often meet other dog walkers and often meet the same dogs and their owners several times a week. We stop and chat and our dogs play together, chatting in their own way with lots of woofs, barks, and tail wagging.
This reminds me of my virtual business networking meetings, where I meet dozens of new people each week along with regular members of each group. Just like Missy, I stop and chat, listen and learn. I’m keen to find out more about each person and their businesses. I also keep an eye out for opportunities where we can perhaps work together and check my contacts to see if I can offer referrals or collaborations.
I’ve founded a new virtual networking group designed to bring dog lovers together from across the country. Whilst chatting about our businesses, our dogs also attend the meetings. With the relaxed, friendly format, some dogs sit on their owner’s lap, others curl up by their owner’s feet. The meetings attract dog owners, dog walkers, dog breeders, dog product manufacturers and even the owners of dog friendly hotels and accommodation.
It’s not essential to have your own dog to be able to come to a dog lovers meeting but lots of dogs do attend with their owners. Missy looks forward to the Friday afternoon meetings. She knows the dogs on screen are real and they are her friends even though she may never meet them in the park. Not everyone has a dog, but everyone is welcome.
If you’d like to come to a Dog Lovers Meeting, they are held every Friday at 2.30pm via Zoom. To receive the welcome message and Zoom link please book your place at https://www.4nonline.biz/book/search?keywords=dog or contact me on 07756 772950 if you’d like to know more.