I've been in business for over 10 years and always networked, but I've never done this before. I have to say it's a revelation. I love the outdoors and I think just being surrounded by nature lets people relax in a way that you can't when you're in an internal environment. There's something about walking, being physical and being outside in nature that lets people relax and just talk rather than feeling like they have to sell. It just changes people's mindset, which I think is the main benefit of Met Walking.
I had always been a bit wary of networking events. Traditional networking is often pressure selling and a bit cringy almost. Met Walking is something completely different and I really enjoy how friendly and welcoming the other walkers are. Being outside actually helps get my brain working more effectively and ideas come more naturally. At Met Walking you can just relax into it and, and be yourself.
For me, this built my confidence with networking. I always used to be fearful of it. I think what's nice is that you meet a lot of people and then you get to have more focused one to one talks. Met Walking allows you to have more meaningful conversations with people, but at the same time do some light exercise out in the fresh air.
There's a great thing about this networking group. You can move from person to person easily and talk to a variety of businesses with greater flexibility as opposed to a traditional sit down breakfast where you naturally speak to those sat closest to you. I’ve been coming to Met Walking for over a year now and I really enjoy visiting different sites, seeing great places and having conversations with various local business people. Getting to know them and where there is business synergy. It's such a friendly group that I think everybody would help everybody if they could.
I found out about Met Walking about a year ago. I quite like walking with my clients so the opportunity to walk and network really appealed to me. The biggest thing I like about this is what we think around authenticity. We’re not in a business environment, people just come along as themselves and however they feel comfortable. Everyone talks about what they happen to do. But at Met Walking they form real relationships with others.
Big companies absolutely have a place at small business networking events like Met Walking. I'm very familiar with the motto of ‘people buying from people’ and I know that a consultative and personal relationship will go a lot further in a sales industry than the traditional ‘Del Boy’ / take your money and run type salesman. Relationship building is very, very important to me and my business and Met Walking facilitates that.
For a number of reasons I think traditional networking breakfasts and lunches are dead. It is yesterday's model. I’m always looking for new ways to connect with people and I love that Met Walking is so casual. I can come along in my gym gear and I don't have to present myself as something. And it’s exercise!
I think that when you are walking and talking it is less confrontational. It's very easy going, relaxed and generally a nice way to share information. Walking side by side really helps you connect.
Met Walking has certainly made a difference to my wellbeing. As a form of networking it is fantastic because you're outside in the lovely sunshine. Don’t know how they do it, but it is always sunny. At Met Walking you can meet quite a lot of people and have meaningful conversations without feeling like it's too forced or too staged. There is always a great group of people at the events. It’s less about ‘this is me, here’s my business card’ and more about deeper conversation and building meaningful relationships.
Getting out and about, walking and networking with new people is great! People feel more relaxed because they are out walking and within nature we're not sat down in a stuffy office or meeting room. I think it's really important to move your body because it really does relax you and help you to be more authentic. Everyone is dressed more relaxed, wearing trainers and not suited and booted so we don't have to put on a front or anything like that.
I think it's really useful to have a forum where I can go out and see people every month. They've got a chance to get to know me and vice versa. It helps to be out of the office or meeting room in a different environment. Some walkers bring their friends, dogs and even their kids so it's generally a relaxed atmosphere.
It feels like an environment where people are open to opportunity and looking for something where it's genuine and there's a real connection. I feel like I've learned a lot from these networking events that have been helpful for me not just in business, but also useful life skills.