Cambridge Network held its quarterly ‘Making the Most of Membership’ meeting this month. The lunchtime event is a chance for new members to see what we’re about before they decide to join as members. They also get to talk with a roomful of other people over lunch. Existing members come and meet us too, sometimes for the first time or for a refresher, to network and see what’s new and interesting. We get a chance to put familiar faces to names that we’ve heard or corresponded with. Being a Friday lunchtime there’s an ‘end of week’ relaxed feel to the meeting. You never know who you’re going to meet, what they might share or how they may be relevant to you or to your network in the future.
Hopefully our team of presenters gave our audience enough information to make an informed judgement as to whether to join or not. And at £60/year* for 10 big networking events, around 20 breakfast events at small extra cost and as much promotion via our site as you can upload that’s incredible value for a small company. For someone working on their own that’s access to around 1,500 people they may never have met before….and a few glasses of wine.
Whilst I’m not a natural presenter I do like the fact that public speaking makes networking a lot easier. We don’t hog the limelight; our breakfast events give the stage to our members to share their expertise on many subjects. We are not experts in their industries so they provide the content and we provide the audience. If you have something interesting to share, please be brave and step up to the podium!
Our members represent many diverse industries of all sizes who use our services in different ways. It’s very useful for us to meet them, often for the first time, to put a face to a name and to find out what they do. Whilst I didn’t manage to speak to everyone in the room I did catch up with a few people from:
The Public Library of Science (PLOS): A non-profit publisher who accelerate science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication using Open Access methods so the research is able to be published and out in society for general use.
TWI: A large membership organisation who has been a valued member for many years, using our training and peer learning groups. TWI is a world-leading research and technology organisation with a focus on materials, engineering and manufacturing.
Benchmark Standard: An enthusiastic and eloquent speaker on the fiscal ramifications of the EU referendum as well as other legislation. Also a new member – welcome!
AMS Technologies: Specialists in optical technology, thermal management and power technology fields who work a lot with the university here in Cambridge, at the forefront of changing technology needs.
Acuity Arts, who manage new art commissions for offices and public spaces. They told me about a great new artwork made of acetates and vinyl to brighten up a dull corridor in the Future Business Centre. Using this material can be quick and innovative and suits narrow spaces where you can’t have framed items. It’s something we could use here at the Hauser Forum.
Whilst presenting our story gives the initial ‘hook’ for people to attend and to reflect how they may best benefit from their membership fee, the real benefit for all is to meet each other, have fruitful conversations and to see if we can make our networks better. You never know who you’re going to meet and there’s so much to be gained from face-to-face communication.
So, be brave, tell your story and come and meet us and each other. The network is as strong as you make it.
*Membership fees vary according to the number of staff in your company, see http://www.cambridgenetwork.co.uk/membership/ for details
Written by Louise Rushworth