On Thursday 18th May, we held the first event for the members of ToGetHer Further to meet in person! After braving the rain, and facing minor difficulties with finding the right WeWork Southbank location (there are two in close proximity!), 16 of us got together for a night of networking with a difference – making authentic connections rather than swapping business cards!
Despite minor access issues (we had one security pass to share between us to get hold of drinks and get to the bathrooms!), the venue was very well equipped for our needs – including the cocktails provided for a conveniently timed ‘Happy Hour’ coinciding with the event! Comfortably prepped with our snacks, and cosy in our conference room, the night began with a brief intro from our hosts at WeWork, then a quick ice breaker as a group before I introduced the night’s activity: speednetworking!
Arranged in pairs, our members had 5 minutes to roll the dice and ask each other a series of questions, none of which were related to work! However, on reflection in the group discussion afterwards it seemed the dice weren’t needed after the first round, and the questions also seemed redundant after a while as people became more comfortable and opened up without needing any prompts. (We’d obviously much prefer people spoke about whatever was meaningful to them, rather than sticking to any pre-prepared script!)
It was great to see everyone talking and connecting so quickly, and I hated having to interrupt everyone after the 5 minutes were up to move people on to their next partner. (Lesson learned for the next event – allow more time, although not so much that people get a chance to run out of things to say, which is a delicate balance!) And it was even worse having to ask everyone to leave before WeWork closed at 9pm!! But I suppose it’s a good sign that everyone was so happy to stay chatting that they didn’t want to leave!
I’ve sent a feedback form to all the attendees to get some constructive criticism in order to improve the event for the future. We may have limited control over things like access cards for this venue but we can certainly look at improving the activities themselves – already have lots of ideas and great suggestions for the next event.
Big thanks to Nicola Cane, who was our photographer for the night and did an excellent job of capturing our event! And a huge thank you to Katie Shore, who was our ‘doorwoman’ to get everyone inside and helped set up the event before anyone arrived! I also have to mention Kathleen Frost who gave me a beautiful bunch of flowers and an extremely thoughtful thank you card that really made me smile!
It was just the nicest touch to finish the night with some free stash from We Work – loving the ‘love what you do’ tagline they have! And after this event, I can certainly say I am loving what I’m doing with everyone at ToGetHer Further!
Looking forward to see you all again soon!
Siobhan Kangataran is a writer, facilitator and the founder of ToGetHer Further – you can connect with her via the ToGetHer Further Facebook group, or read more of her personal writing at www.siobhankangataran.com.
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