I've been networking and having 1-2-s for years and they've had almost no impact on my business.
And then I joined WMB and Philippa taught me how to do things properly, and my word how things are changing! I use the format Philippa has created and the feedback I get from people is great - in fact I had a meeting last week with someone who's now seriously considering joining WMB as a result of our 1-2-1 - and I only mentioned WMB in passing by way of explaining why my questions for her where different to what she had been expecting.
You learn so much more about the other person and how you can help them when you use Philippa's format and I want to give you an example. Yesterday I had a 1-2-1 with Vicki Powell from Orchard Street Business Centre in Bristol. I'd already had a chat with Vicki and visited Orchard Street the month before when I was looking for a Bristol Venue for my workshops, but yesterday we had a proper 1-2-1. I'd been impressed with Vicki and Orchard Street before but it was only when I talked to her in more depth that I understood just how different her offering is to chains like Requs or the Buzz Club. If you've visited Orchard Street you'll already know, as I did, how beautiful the offices are, how well maintained and well equipped they are and that there are a number of different options available. So far so as you would expect.
What's different about Orchard Street is Vicki. She started out as a receptionist 16 years ago and after 3 months was promoted to Assistant Manager - clearly her employers saw her potential. And now she managers the whole place and brings in new business. She knows about every aspect of the buildings, from which chairs are in which storeroom to how the cabling for the IT works and everything in between.
With Vicki, the whole thing is personal. She is committed to providing an excellent level of care and support to her clients and is adamant that they should feel that Orchard Street is a safe place to come to work. She has designed all the processes for maintaining the buildings and keeping things running and her attitude is always "yes, we can do that for you and if we really can't let's work out a compromise that suits us both". It's important to Vicki that her team and her tenants' teams are happy.
When I asked her who would NOT be a good referral for her she said (and I quote) "No arseholes!" She has a very clear picture of the types of people she wants to encourage in, and it's very much about their attitude not their industry sector. From talking to Vicki I got such a rich picture of the environment she has created and how different it is form the more corporate, dare I say soulless office hubs I've visited before. I now understand much more clearly what Vicki has to offer and who to keep an eye out for as referrals for her.
So I'll finish with two thoughts: 1) if you're not having regular 1-2-1's and/or you're not using the WMB template, get started and 2) if you're working from home but don't want to be, currently in office space that doesn't suit you or even looking for a virtual office that can provide you with rooms for meetings, get in touch with Vicki. Unless you're an arsehole of course...