4N Business Networking Review – East Sussex
Date: 15 October 2015
The Business Network Column from Platinum Business Magazine
Network Review – 4Networking
By Emma Pearce – Marketing Consultant – outsourced marketing services and social media training
Emma Pearce gives a more detailed insight into 4Networking…
If you are networking to help build your business, you will have a choice of 4Networking (4N) events closeby. This national networking organisation has unique elements to its format, including everyone participating in three 10 minute 1-2-1 meetings during every event.
I went along to the recent Eastbourne meeting which coincided with 4N’s first trade show (an idea from the local Sussex groups, rather than the national HQ).
The trade show was opened by Stephen Lloyd MP and held at the Lansdowne Hotel on Eastbourne seafront. Thirty-four businesses had stands including Clive Hawkesley from property insurance claims management company, Aspray. “4N is a relatively new networking group for me but it’s great. It’s so easy to cover a wider area by visiting meetings in other areas as often as I want to. It’s certainly more relaxed than other networks, but still has a good format to make it work well for my business.”
The Eastbourne lunch meeting is a fortnightly event and is usually held at the Beachy Head Hotel. However, it was moved (or one week only) to accommodate all the trade stand holders too. Over 60 people sat down for lunch!
The 4N hosts welcomed everyone to lunch and we were all given a personalised place holder for the tablet (a very useful aide-mémoire for names!).
The 4N meeting format is:
- 30 minutes mingling – networking with everyone (visitors, regulars and 4N members from other groups)
- sit down for breakfast/lunch/dinner and listen to each person’s 40 second presentation (with a call to action if you are maximising this opportunity!)
- listen to the speaker for 15 minutes – a group member gives an insight into their business and topical issues (not a sales pitch)
- three 10-minute individual conversations with other people in the room – all done via swapping cards (numbered 1,2 and 3) earlier on in the meeting!
At this special event on 2 March there was a very eclectic mix of businesses from across Sussex. Skills ranged from IT and marketing to catering, coaching, conveyancing, wellbeing, construction, private investigating and many more.
A typical meeting would be 15-22 people comprising regular members, visiting 4N members and guests.
In my 10 minute 1-2-1 with Chris Lodge from Gray Hooper Holt solicitors, I discovered that he is the Regional Leader for 4N in the South East Central Area. He has an impressive knowledge of everyone’s names without seeing the place names on the tables!
“The 1-2-1’s are a real USP for 4Networking, along with the “passport” to visit any other groups across the country. We don’t think that lock-outs are necessary either – we’ve seen (and experienced ourselves) that meeting people from your own sector typically leads to beneficial collaborations.”
You can visit 3 times before deciding whether to join or not – so why not try your local group to get a taste of 4N? Visit www.4networking.biz to find out where your closest events are. There are also other resources for members including online networking and free training.
The 1-2-1 format is a great idea and, although 10 minutes may not be enough, it does give you more insight into a business. You can always decide to meet again to chat more. I have seen how arranging 1-2-1’s before or after other regular networking meetings has really been worthwhile. Investing that little bit of extra time will uncover useful knowledge and often unexpected opportunities to support each others’ businesses.
4Networking Key Facts
- Location: local, regional & national meetings
- Frequency: fortnightly
- Size: 15-22 people
- Time: breakfast, lunch or dinner options
- Lock out: no
- Visit other groups: yes, any time
- USP: 3 x 10 minute 1-2-1s during the meeting
- Minute round: Nearly – 40 seconds each!
- Speaker slot: yes (15 minutes – 4Sight slot)
- Visit before join: yes, 3 times
- Cost: annual fee and cost for each event attended
Why not read our other networking blogs…
- Networking is it really worth it?
- Tips and ideas for your 1 minute networking presentation
- Business Networking events in East Sussex for Men and Women
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