I forced 80 accountants to talk to each other!

Heather Townsend
Director
The Excedia Group
Columnist
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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!

About Heather Townsend

Heather Townsend is a brand ambassador for the Practice Excellence Programme, and the Founder of ‘The Accountants Millionaires’ Club’. In 2015 the ICAEW decided she was the number one online influencer for the accountancy profession. She is the author of 4 books, including The Go-To Expert, and ‘How to make partner and still have a life’ (co-authored with Jo Larbie).

Heather is always up for a challenge. Perhaps that is why she has built a track record of helping accountants grow the size of their practice by 50-200%, often in under two years. Often helping them make partner or equity partner in the process.

Heather is a high profile member of the accountancy profession in the UK. She has worked with over 300 partners, coached, trained and mentored over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. Heather's clients have included: 7 out of the Top 10 UK practices, including all the Big 4 firms. 

In 2016 her and her team of coaches have coached:

1) 7 people successfully to partner

2) Professionals from all of the Big 4, from every major continent in the world

 

As well as helping accountants make partner, she still spends 40% of her time helping small firms, typically under £1m GRF:

1) Create profitable revenue streams from advisory services and reduce their reliance on revenue from compliance services

2) Radically increase their profitability, even if they are a cloud based practice, often helping them achieve a net profit margin of 40%+

3) Double or even triple the size of their practice within 3 years

4) Win bigger and better clients

5) Grow the right team around them so they stop working stupidly high hours and spend quality time with the people they care about

https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

Her articles appear regularly in the UK national and trade press, including The Financial Times, Accountancy Age, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. Heather is also in-demand for her speaking and has recently returned from the South African Accountancy Academy conference.

Replies

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03rd Feb 2011 23:59

A good thing?
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.

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By David2e
04th Feb 2011 08:19

Catch 22

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

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05th Feb 2011 13:24

We are talking about networking here

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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