Tomorrow night DigiWomen are holding a networking event with DCU Ryan Academy in City West at 6pm. The Positive Economist Susan Hayes will be sharing her story on how she started and grew her business.
Now some people love to network and enjoy the experience of meeting new people. And for the lucky few it comes naturally to them as talking to a close friend would.
For others networking is not so easy. It can bring untold anxiety and worry before, during and after the event. When I look back that is how I felt when I started out. Organising this event made me think about my networking journey and how valuable it has been over the past four years. And I thought it would be a good idea to share the networks that have helped improve my business methods and contacts.
My networking adventure started in 2010 when I joined the Dublin City Enterprise Board women’s network. And from the start Pauline Logan the organiser of this network was welcoming and supportive.
The first night I attended I nearly ran back home when I realised everyone had to stand up say their name and what their business was. At the time, that was a BIG deal for me. Firstly, I was still at the idea stage and secondly standing up in a room full of nearly 100 women was way out of my comfort zone.
I managed to survive that night and over time learnt how to pitch better (thank you Barbara Moynihan of On Your Feet). I met incredible women all working hard at developing and growing their businesses. Aileen Rogers founder of Ready Girls, Una Healy of Una Healy Design and Debbie Mc Donnell of The Marketing Shop to mention a few.
Another network that has been vital to both my personal and business development is Women on Air. It is a voluntary networking group that runs seminars and informal training workshops to help give women the skills and confidence to go on radio and television. The excellent Margaret E. Ward started it in 2010 to help women gain more skills and confidence to go on radio and television. Get on The List now.
Before joining Women on Air I would never had thought I could go on radio or television. That was something only experts did and it wasn’t for an ordinary woman like me. One of the women I met at Women on Air was Helen Shaw of Athena Media who has been instrumental in encouraging me to think bigger and go on air. Because of Helen and WOA I got to do a short television programme with Capital D and some short radio interviews.
The result of attending WOA and networking is that it has changed my thinking. Provided me with real-time skills for going on air and most of all introduced me to lots of women doing great things. Hello Eimear Mc Cormack and Barbara Scully.
And now for the last network that had an impact was with the DCU Ryan Academy. Last year, they held a series of female focused networking workshops. The sessions facilitated by the dynamic Struan Robertson of Be a Ten were interesting to say the least. At times his ideas and methods were challenging and yet it was so worth attending.
I got to meet other women who were starting or running business and had the same problems that I was facing. I got to test myself and get past the self-made limitations I had imposed on myself.
The main point I am making is that without networking I would not be writing this post today on the DigiWomen blog. I would not be holding a DigiWomen event tomorrow with the DCU Ryan Academy. I doubt very much if Social Zavvy my business would still exist.
Networking is where you get to meet people you like and trust. People that you can do business with. It is the most productive and valuable way to build relationships.
And to succeed you must always connect, share resources and meet with people. Join us tomorrow night, meet and learn from Susan Hayes, meet other entrepreneurs. Meet fellow DigiWomen and shake off those nerves. Sign up here.