I forced 80 accountants to talk to each other!

And… they loved it. In fact they loved it so much they didn’t want to stop talking to each other. It took me ages to get them to shut up and get back to their seats for the rest of my presentation…

Let me give you the back story. I was delivering an evening event on how to network effectively for the London branch of CIMA. It was a fairly typical professional association event. People meander in and either head towards the buffet or find a chair and stare at their blackberry for a bit. Let’s be honest, there wasn’t much talking or networking going on. Not too dissimilar to my local CIPD events which I attend regularly.

In my presentation I ‘force’ my delegates to get up and introduce themselves to three other people. In an instance the room was filled with noise and talking. Getting 80 accountants to stop talking and sit down without a microphone is difficult, I can promise you!

So, what’s the point of this blog post? Very simply many of us are afraid to go up to strangers and introduce ourselves. But when forced to do it, it’s amazing how easy it is.

So, next time you are out networking – whether at a social event, work event or OFFICIAL networking event, force yourself out of your comfort zone and make yourself introduce yourself to three people you don’t know. I promise that you wouldn’t regret it.

As Girish Shah, one of the attendees said at the event, if you are worried about rejection or carrying on the conversation, remember SW3 – some will, some wouldn’t and so what!

Comments

A good thing?

girlofwight | | Permalink

You say all this as if it's a good thing!

Think about this - some of us want the choice about who we talk to & interact with, rather than having it forced on us. You'd do no worse than to ponder peoples right to privacy and personal freedoms than go around making snippy remarks about whether or not people choose to network.

David2e's picture

Catch 22

David2e | | Permalink

The Efficiency Coash is talking mostly about networking events where the point is usually to meet different people and develop those relationships.

People would have to rely on introductions from those they already know if no one would introduce themselves to each other.  If it was a new event full of unknown people they'd all be standing there alone as they don't want to force themselves onto others and invade privacy (which is limited at these events anyway).

I think if people are struggling to meet others and build relationships as they are not comfortable approaching others, the Efficiency Coach has outlined as good a technique as any to help get started... otherwise you might as well just not waste time turning up at a networking event.

Better to be rejected by others than by yourself.

David Toohey
The Accountants Circle

efficiencycoach's picture

We are talking about networking here

efficiencycoach | | Permalink

I can sense from girlofwight's comment that there is a huge strength of feeling here. This is not a post about baiting accountants, or forcing them to do stuff against their will. Or even been pleased about doing this. After working with accountants for the last 7 years, I respect them as a profession and have many friends within the accountancy profession.

This was a post about a networking event - where accountants had voluntarily attended to improve their networking skills and actually do some face to face networking. This means that (if they want to improve their networking skills) they HAVE to talk to people. Many people find it difficult to attend these events because they fear talking to strangers. As I proved at the event, this is very easy to do - as long as you have the right mindset.

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I help professionals, mostly accountants and lawyers become the Go-To-Expert. After joining BDO LLP in 2004, I have now almost clocked up ten years working predominantly with accountants helping them achieve their career and business goals. Unusually for someone with an Engineering Degree, I accidentally became a writer and used my knowledge on social media to write the current best-selling and award-winning book on networking, The FT Guide To Business Networking. (over 100 five star reviews on amazon) In 2012, the book I always wanted to write, 'How to make partner and still have a life' was published. In March 2014, my next book, 'The Go-To-Expert: How to build your reputation, differentiate yourself from the competition and win business' is published. People frequently talk about me as someone who really knows her stuff – which may be the reason I have, over the last decade, worked with over 300 partners, coached and trained over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. 

I am honoured to have been asked to judge the British Accountancy Awards in 2011 and 2012. I am a member of the Accountant's Club Global Advisory Panel, and write regularly on practice management issues for CCH.

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