I made a mistake this morning – or perhaps I was just lazy. The Sussex branch of the IoD (Institute of Directors) were holding a breakfast meeting on the subject of “Company Pensions – a millstone round your neck or a milestone to a better future”, which I attended. My consulting company may be micro in size but like all other companies it will be covered by the automatic enrolment legislation. So I thought I had better find out more before my staging date of 1st April 2017.
The presenter was Alan Salamon, a pension and investment expert, and I went along to hear him speak. What I forgot to do was think about how to get the best out of the networking opportunities before, after and even during the meeting. The value mostly comes from what you learn from others and can share with them, rather than any direct pitch. For me, it takes an effort to socialise easily with those I do not know, so I should have prepared myself mentally to make the most out of each conversation, finding out about other people, their roles and operations, their current business challenges and views.
It was a reminder to me that you always need to work out how to be an active participant at all meetings, to think about what you can put in as well as what you can get back, to try to build conversations and communications that might grow in the future. Next time I should put aside a short period of time to prepare to put more in and get more out.