When you go to a networking event there are a number of guarantees. First the coffee will be broadly undrinkable. The breakfast options will be generally unhealthy and if you opt for the Full English it will be made with cheap ingredients and often sausages that are as culinary acceptable as a dead mans cock. Often looking vaguely similar too I imagine.
There are at least two financial advisors, one will writer, some management consultants in various guises plus someone expounding the virtues of cheaper household bills.
Another common attendance is someone selling nutrition whether this be Herbalife or something similar. Now the last thing you want to talk about whilst eating your tenners worth of nasty food is to be told that diet is important.
This morning all the above applied but in addition there were no less than four photographers. Now whilst sipping apple infused herbal tea (at least something is palatable and vaguely healthy) and avoiding the onslaught from from the networking groupies I started thinking about some sort of USP to discuss during the introduction creeping death where each attendee has forty seconds to tell the room about themselves in a sufficiently interesting way to encourage further discussion during the three ten minute 1-1 rounds to be held later.
I quickly whipped out my Ipad and pulled together a selection of images from a recent property shoot and came up with some captivating stats which would divert attention away from mopping up baked bean juice and make people concentrate on me.
Hoorah, it worked. My property photography specialism was not discussed by the other photographers, one concentrated on portraits another on commercial and the other on weddings.
My usual general introduction mentions that I photograph and video anything beginning with ‘P’, People, Property, Products, Places, Portraits, Weddings, Events and Parties. (there must be a word for wedding beginning with ‘P’ somewhere in my lexicon.
After the event had concluded all us photographer types huddled in a corner and discussed gear. Our profession is great in that there are always lots of shiny toys we could purchase to erode our profits further.
We also noticed that Interestingly, we each had a Unique Selling Point that, in addition to our specialisms was our individuality, personality and approach and there was an opportunity for each of us to develop our network and capture business. There could also be an opportunity for collaboration in the future.
If you haven’t tried networking it does work and is valuable to business but my advice would be to eat breakfast before you leave home. Of course who in life tends to follow his own advice.