Willow Wednesday a must for new businesses

Willow Wednesday a must for new businesses
May 21 13:26 2014 Print This Article

Willow Farm

By Kerry Wood www.notedpr.co.uk

A lifestyle coach, a pink rhino and muffin smuggling all played a part in making the unknown world of business networking a lot less daunting.

The monthly Willow Wednesday near Cramlington, Northumberland, was my first brush with networking and as I pulled into the car park of the Willow Farm Pub Restaurant I wasn’t sure what to expect.

How many people would be there? Who do I talk to and what do I do?  The £5 on-the-door admission includes refillable hot drinks and an almighty muffin, which threw in a new dilemma: How to eat said muffin without spraying crumbs on new contacts?

I needn’t have worried. As soon I was through the door I was greeted with friendly smiles and ‘mornings’ from organisers NorthEastBiz and shown where to get a much-needed caffeine hit.

Possibly looking like a newbie I was quickly rescued from standing on my own and helpfully briefed on how to network. Going against my common social conventions you approach a group of people who are chatting amongst themselves and introduce yourself.

Scary stuff. Taking a deep breath I was off, meeting new people, hearing about their line of work and the people they knew that might be of interest.

A chat with North East Chamber of Commerce membership advisor Lee Dixon saw me passed some excellent ideas on who to contact and how to grow my public relations business.

I was given a glimpse into what it takes to be a confident speaker with Speech Genius, discovered the latest plans for Holiday Inn Newcastle-Jesmond and chatted to a former council worker now a lifestyle coach and Temple Spa consultant.

For me as a new business this is the beauty of Willow Wednesday. You are talking to people who have been in the same position and are more than happy to pass on their tips.

Behind those pub doors one morning a month is a pool of experts with a wealth of knowledge they’re willing to share. And this, teamed with the chance to talk to others now my kitchen table is also my desk, is invaluable.

I managed to avoid the cake crumb crisis by asking restaurant staff to bag my muffin for a take out.

It’s just a shame I was spotted noisily cramming the baked good into my handbag before saying my goodbyes and leaving at 10am for the rest of my working day.

The next Willow Wednesday is on June 25 8am till 10am.



Kerry Wood

Award-winning journalist Kerry Wood has 10 years’ experience working in one of the country’s busiest regional newsrooms. She has regularly broken news stories that have gone on to attract national and international coverage and huge social media exposure. Able to turn her hand to writing features, human interest stories, hard-hitting campaigns and reviews Kerry is adept at writing for any target audience. As a former media and public relations officer at a local authority she is also experienced in stakeholder engagement, creating press releases and internal communications.






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