Prior to my first 4N meeting I had only been to one business networking meeting, where everyone was put in a bar area and basically had to get on with it. That felt odd because there was no format to it.
Going to 4N was then a bit of a relief. There was a set format but it was very relaxed. Having the pre-planned format sort of removed the fear of what do I do for 2 hours if no one wants to talk to me? (Not everyone loves spreadsheets as much as me)
Before going to my first 4N meeting I heard about the BNI format of meetings and having to produce referals etc (In my line of work I dont meet many clients to pass on as referrals so this would never work for me.), so I was worried 4N would secretly score on the number of referals given. It became obvious from my first visit that this fear was unfounded.
The welcome from Steve, Michelle and Lianne was great and instantly put me at ease.
So it did feel strange because it was not what I had feared it would be - Hope that makes sense
I was pretty confused by it, to be honest - I was pretty new to anything other than open networking at that stage though. I didn't get the 4Sight especially and was probably looking too hard for business in my 1-2-1s. I was a bit thrown before I started as I had a rubbish journey there, some confusion over where the venue was (somehow I had two different postcodes from different emails sent through) and thought I was late even though I was there before 8.30am.
Ten months later I made it to my second meeting (where I joined) and understood it all a lot better. I didn't get the differences between the AL, GL, OA and MA though (not helped by the fact that the AL was group leading as the GL was doing the 4Sight) but I understood 4N and networking in general much better by then.
I am a very sceptical person and as I went to my first meeting I felt relaxed but you hear so many stories about people getting money out of you and not coming up with the goods. After the meeting I was approached by Brad and was still uncertain and we had a long chat before I finally gave in and paid the money, The rest, as they say, is history MIGHTY COLIN
I went to half a meeting in Oxford and bowled in half way through the 4Sight, then my very first meet proper was Cheltenham before the script was changed to explain the 121s. I went for a wee during the break and came back and everyone had sorted their 121s.
I went to my first 4N event today in Portsmouth. I was a little apprehensive beforehand as I was unsure on the format but as I met people I became at ease very quickly. I was chatting so much I realised everyone else was queing for breakfast so joined the queue for what was a very nice cooked breakfast (what no hash browns?!! ). We then had the 40 second introduction which I was not prepared at all for but was able to wing it (40 seconds? I can talk for hours!!). After that we chose our 1-2-1 partners and then had 10 minutes with each person to discuss what each had to offer.
What I really liked was the friendliness and informality (is that a word?) of the event. Whilst we are all there for a common purpose, to increase business, it felt more like a friendly chat than a hard sell and I am sure that I will be in touch with the people I spoke to today to expand on what we can all offer.
London liverpool street, May 2010. Loved every single minute of it.
First person I spoke to was Brad at the coffee stand, who gave me an hour and a halfs worth of 4n history in about 2 minutes.
The 40 second pitch went remarkably well, despite making it up as I went along.
The 1-2-1's were mental. My first one practically put a mysery shopper order in there and then (22 months later I'm still working with him). The 2nd 1-2-1 remains a key supplier of mine. The 3rd was Lee Rickler, which was just 10 minutes of fine entertainment.
Continued chatting to people after he meeting finished and came down to London from Leeds a week later to continue the conversation with a further 3 other people.
considering Objective Eye was about 2 days old at the time, it went pretty bloody well.
I was quite nervous before going and also rather sceptical. A friend had invited me and, once she had assured me there was no commitment, I agreed to go along to a meeting in Weston. I had no idea what to expect (the friend didn't outline the format to me and I never thought to ask!) but I had assumed it would be interesting to go along, but probably not of any real value to my business, especially in relation to the (what seemed to me) expensive membership costs.
I'd been to one networking breakfast before, on a much smaller, more informal scale. I enjoyed the structure of the breakfast and the fact that although it felt informal and relaxed, things moved along and finished on time.
I remember receiving a warm welcome from many members, but also being rather daunted by the fact that everyone there seemed to know everyone else and shared a lot of in-jokes. I was terrified for my 40-seconds and had no idea what to say. I was pounced upon for my one-to-ones and some were more useful than others, and a couple did help me relax and enjoy myself, as well as start to see the possible benefits it might bring for my business.
I met some fantastic people and enjoyed it enough to want to go back - I understood that it would take time to build business through 4N but I felt instinctively that it would be worth the investment.
I actually found my second breakfast more scary, because my friend wasn't there and I had to talk to people on my own - quite daunting when they all seem to know each other really well!