Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Networking, networking, networking

Today has been a big networking day - hours of it.....

I went to another BNI meeting today, the first time it was a breakfast, this time it was a members-drive luncheon. Same place, same concept, same procedure - this time there were a lot more people there, about 15 members and probably about 40 guests.

Again it was interesting and we all had 30 seconds to present ourselves and our business, plus there was a chance both before and afterwards to mingle. All of my business cards disappeared from the business card box that is passed around after the presentations....

Then I picked up the kids, came home and hung out with them for a short while before making dinner and heading out the door again.

This time it was off to a Handelskammaren mingle - also known as the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. The purpose was to welcome in potential members by introducing the organisation and the benefits of being a member. We were welcomed by the CEO Peter Egardt, given good reasons for becoming a member by board member Yvonne Berglund and further convinced by the Information Manager and the Membership Manager. After the 45 minutes of presentations a superb buffet was served and it was mingle, mingle, mingle - how easy is that when you have a plate full of food with a glass of Aussie wine hanging off it??

From the moment I received the invitation I knew I knew Yvonne Berglund but I couldn't work out how. I knew the name, knew the company name and where she was located. It was all so familiar. Once I saw her I remembered, and she remembered me, even that fact that I am Australian - yet over 10 years has passed since we spoke.

When I started a business 11 years ago I was selected to be part of a program for migrants starting companies - it was a series of seminars and it was also to encourage networking. It was sponsored by the local Huddinge Municipality and run by a company that develops organisations - Bo Granqvist AB - an interesting company in their own right. Yvonne was one of the seminar leaders - an inspiring woman with her own story who runs an Accounting Firm and who has recently set up a gorgeous boutique hotel. It was great to see Yvonne again and I have no doubt our paths will cross again.

I spent the next hour and a half talking to people, exchanging information on what we are working with, who our customers are and how the Chamber works and assists its members. Once again there were a lot of interesting people there and the chance to get new input is excellent. The Swedish Chambers of Commerce around the world are exactly who I want to be in contact with in time to come, so it is a membership organisation that could be of great benefit to my business.

Funnily enough the most interesting conversation this evening was with the only other person I "knew" there - one of my colleagues from the Våga Språnget group - but I'll talk more about that tomorrow....

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