Last Friday was another Inspiring Women event.
When the speaker has finished and the raffles have been drawn it’ s then time for coffee/tea and networking.It was fun and noisy- lots of laughing- people sitting, standing, exchanging cards, making appointments, looking at the display table with different business wares on it. Some moved outside to view the ocean and have a quiet chat.
As I moved around there were conversations on marketing, investing, property, children, sick parents, questions about each others businesses or health.
A visitor had come up to me and asked do you realise how different this networking group is from others? Many are so serious-quiet-they don’t make you feel very comfortable at all. Have I thought of franchising it as it is so unique?
Trying to be tactful (which I am usually not) I said that they all meet different purposes, some like to very serious, but this group is mainly ex-corporates who have run away from the corporate life, had children and wanted to stay working on the Northern Beaches so created businesses they could run from home or small offices etc…
Then I had a thought. This actually wasn’t true. I have also started a group in Hornsby/Asquith to assist the Hornsby Chamber of Commerce. We just had our 3rd meeting which I run in the same style, called Women in Business
The first 2 meetings were quiet and everyone sat down as soon as they came through the door quietly waiting for this “new group” to start.
By the third meeting, I could hear them before I was even in the room-in fact I had to shout to be heard to get them to sit down!
They were networking like crazy, even the shy ones.
What makes Inspiring Women so different?
It’s the amount of communication-not only from me-not only from outspoken members-or even the shy ones. If the environment is created to make people feel safe & secure-that it’s ok to make mistakes, in fact we all make mistakes,whether we admit to them or not.
But I also encourage people to laugh at themselves- I certainly make mistakes-quite spectacular ones-which more often than not is in full public view. If I laugh at my mistakes, then others relax and laugh too. If I got all uptight and embarrassed, then others will feel awkward too.
We cannot stop the challenges that life throws our way, they always come ready or not and sometimes we are not always feeling as strong as could in dealing with them. It is good for the soul to speak about our wins and our challenges. If the group feel a sense of community, about each other and know that people care, they will then feel safe enough to communicate whatever is the burning issue for them at the time.
Sometimes it’s a business challenge-marketing, staff, cash flow problems, debt collection, sales in general but other times it could be home life-kids, elderly parents, menopause the list goes on.
Laughter is the best medicine-whether we poke fun at ourselves or gently at each other to remind them that it really isn’t the end of the world. Life keeps going on, sometimes you only need to have someone listen to you and care, sometimes you need to have a gentle kick in the bum to put in all back into perspective and laugh.
If you feel you are in a safe environment, you feel more inclined to share. I find not all ladies attend to promote their business, in fact some businesswomen love the atmosphere and come along to chill out from business, it’s “their” time to relax and not think about business.
You cannot be all things to all people I agree, but if you knew you were attending an event where you would be accepted not matter how you felt that day-whether you were on a high (from maybe a great deal you just won) or feeling a bit low ( and knew you would get a laugh for the day) or in case of one lady whose dog had died the night before-she said afterwards she could not have found a more supportive group of people to cheer her up.
Granted- if you find the right mix of people this will happen to any group, but when you make an effort, without being condescending and love the variety of peoples personalities it’s no wonder that Inspiring Women is different.
Because, belive it or not- we are all human, just some of us show it more often instead of trying to be a superhero/