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4 Tips For When You Want To Start Working Again


For some people, working is a constant. They dedicate themselves to their career from the moment they first get employed to the day they finally retire.

Not everyone is like that though, with plenty of people taking extended breaks from work to go travelling or start a family. A lot of them do end up returning to employment eventually, with the percentage of working mothers reported to be around 75% in 2019. However, they typically only go back when they feel ready to do so.

The problem with this is that it can be difficult getting back into the swing of things. Hopefully these suggestions make the transition a lot easier, though.

1. Accurately Update Your CV

Your CV can make all the difference between you receiving a job interview or getting rejected, so it’s important that you ensure it’s up to date and shows you in your best light. That includes divulging that you took a break from work and explaining how that time off can benefit potential employers. For instance, if you went travelling, there are probably skills and experiences you picked up that could come in handy wherever you want to work.   

2. Consider A Career Change

There are plenty of reasons why people take a break from work, including a loss of interest in their career.  If that was the case for you, you may want to consider finding a new industry to work in. That might be easier said than done, especially if there isn’t a line of work that you’re currently passionate about. Thankfully, Refreshing a Career have become a one-stop resource for anyone looking for a career change so their guides might prove to be invaluable Helping people change careers is their specialty, so even if you’ve been out of the game for a while, they’ll be able to guide you onto whatever new path you wish to follow.

3. Ask For Help

The great thing about returning to work after an extended break is that you already have contacts in the professional world who you can lean on for help. These might be former colleagues who you still talk to or ex-employers who value the work that you did for them. There’s a good chance that one of them will know of a job opportunity that could suit your needs or something along those lines. What’s more, you can also ask if they’d mind being a reference for you. Inquiring about that in advance could save you some hassle down the line.

4. Work On Your Confidence

Sometimes, the thing that lets a candidate down isn’t their skill set or experience, but rather their confidence. Employers value personality over a lot of other factors, with confidence a key trait that they look to. They want to hire someone who believes in themselves and what they can offer, so it’s important to go into any interview with your head held high. It’s okay to be nervous, especially if you’ve been out of work for a while. Just make sure that it’s a bit of interview jitters and not a lack of confidence in yourself. Writing down what you’re good at and asking people for their feedback can always help with this.

Returning to work might be a little daunting, but with the right approach, it can be an exciting new step in your life. You could end up finding the job of your dreams.

Collaboration for Networkers – Yes or No?


Definition of collaboration = the action of working with someone to produce something (Oxford Dictionaries)

Synergies

Do you always see the synergies, that is, the possibilities to collaborate when speaking to others when you are networking, or perhaps when you’re listening to others’ 1 minutes?  Maybe you don’t see the synergies straight away, but you do when you revisit your notes later…  Why would you want to collaborate with others?  Let’s take a look at some possibilities.  Or, help others to collaborate.

What about the Experts?

You are an expert in your own field, your own business.  But are you an expert in all subjects required for successful business, for something new and different?  Let’s consider your area of expertise is weight loss.  Amongst those around you at a networking meeting is an image consultant, a beautician, a venue Manager and a multi-disciplined practitioner in alternative therapies.  Getting the picture?  Let’s go further and consider that during the subsequent meeting you have together that you decide to “do something” together. 

GDPR
GDPR

Next steps in collaboration

To set up the project and manage the finances, needs the help and advice of an accountant and/or bookkeeper.  The project also needs marketing, using both traditional methods and social media.  And of course, you're likely to need Contracts (KoffeeKlatch will have just the thing for you) that keep you legal and abiding to GDPR regulations too, for working with these experts.  Guess what? You’ve met all these people!  They are part of your ever-expanding network. 

What knowledge and expertise do you have?

You may have some knowledge in these fields, but you are by no means an expert.  With others, through collaborative networking your business offering is now different, strongersuccessful.

Got you thinking, right?

Can you think of synergies and reasons to collaborate, now?  

Thought you would!

Disaster Dahling! Or How Our Networks Work!

Afternoon before the business conference, check list in hand, everything ticked and ready to go for the Conference set-up.

The phone rings, the voice of the venue owner (2 separate ownerships) throws a virtual bucket of ice-cold water over me.  “I’m really sorry Jackie, but we have no power – although our people are working on it, I think you need to look at an alternative venue for your business event.”

He had tried to pre-empt the situation by speaking with a venue just a few yards away and they had agreed to host our event – but, I’d never been in that venue, so needed to visit before making that decision; and just how bad was our original venue?  And had he spoken with the new owner of the other half of the venue?  No.  Working since 7.00 am that morning from my home office, I’d literally stepped out of the shower when taking his call.

So with dripping hair and no make-up – not a good look – I made my way to the potential new Conference venue.  Fortunately, a 10 mins drive away from me.

The booked venue was indeed a shambles of refurbishment - more like a bomb-site, more so on the floor-level where the business exhibition stands were scheduled along with the business clinics and advisers; the lower floor level was for the seminars and workshops.  So we waited for the owner of the other venue to arrive – as you’d imagine, a million things banging around my head, which finally settled into a plan.

The new venue was great, and we could use 2 floors, as planned.  OK, back to the office with 90 mins to spare before people start to arrive to set up, to let everyone know of the venue change.  And breath! 

Phone calls to The Mayor’s office and others, emails to EVERYONE!  Some would receive 2 emails with change of venue details, but that didn’t matter – better 2 than none at all.

Back at the new venue with car ready to be unloaded, to be told that we can only use one floor – that means speakers and exhibition stands on one level, but, separated by a huge circular bar – we can still make this work!

In between times, I’d spoken with the representative of the 2nd owner of our original venue – with me so far?  who was totally unaware of the situation up to that point. 100 chairs were on their way, plus tables, but, we didn’t need 100 chairs at the new venue, just half, since they had their own chairs……

When the furniture delivery arrives, there are too many chairs and insufficient tables – off to get more tables!

Time moves on – people arrive for setting up stands – then, sleep… 7.30 am start to finish last minute set-up of the event which opens at 9.00 am.

The Day

Exhibitors start to arrive, and despite notices from the “old” venue and emails, some state that they’ve not seen either.  Trouble is, it’s not possible to take responsibility for another’s computer system.  Others are happy and accommodating of the whole situation and continue to have a successful day. 

“Huge congratulations for pulling potential disaster out of the fire this week! The BBA day was a triumph. I met some lovely people and hope we may be able to help each other sometime in the future.”  Susan Feehan

Why am I Sharing this with You?

I'm an experienced events organiser, with a wide network of contacts, grown through my own business – 1230 The Women’s Company as well as managing other events regularly such as my local business association (event above). 

Stuff Happens!

And as we look around at the current disasters in the World, my above experience is small fry.  I had planned and pulled this together in 12 months. Last minute stuff happens, unexpected stuff, like venues going into liquidation – had 2 of those with my monthly lunch-time networking meetings of 1230 TWC.  Venues catching fire, all manner of things that potentially could have brought a halt to the event. 

The event above was local to me in Beckenham, but not all my chosen venues are, so unless someone lets me know (as you’d expect,  it wasn’t the owners of the liquidated or fired premises, who did) how am I to know and make alternative plans?  In the case of one restaurant liquidation, a passing chap who’d booked a table for the following day, spotted the notification of liquidation in the restaurant window.  He went back to his computer and tried to find anyone who may have had a booking with the venue.  Thankfully he found us and let us know – how considerate is that!

Having a Plan

The invaluable check list!  And I’ve been nagged to write a book on how to organise an event -something I’ve done with my own businesses since 2002 and earlier when I was a fund-raising manager.  So watch this space!

Yes, you need a check list!

Networks

networking

At the root of all event organisation is – your network.  You need a venue, so look to your network for personal recommendations.  You need speakers, so you look to those that you know, either as speakers, or for their connections and recommendations.  The speakers will “spread the word” of the event to their networks.  Dependent upon the type of event, you may need exhibitors.  Again, you look to your network to invite them to exhibit and they will let their networks know.  And when possible, you need a team, as I had around me for the described Conference – substitute “team”, with network.

You need a builder, copywriter, a web designer, solicitor.. you name it, whatever your needs, your network will fulfil this.  If you are a business woman, then obviously you look to your network within 1230.co.uk

Following the Conference above, I asked on Facebook what readers would have done in such a situation.  Many said “call you!”, another suggested steps for me to take, the last being to call her, as did others.  

All that is about connections created through networking.

Networks are the most important things in our lives. Whether we need to share our excitement, our tears, need help, want to offer help, it’s all about people we know.  Don’t forget, our own families are networks, and, surprising to some, they know people too!

The Importance of Networks

So this blog isn’t about sharing the potential disaster of a last minute change of venue, but most importantly, the strength of a supportive network.  If you’ve not been before, come and try us out  1230.co.uk and for September, grab September Sizzle while you can.

How did you meet?

Since we met, or rather were introduced, I’ve been asked this question several times. I’m just back from the “Make It Happen17” Conference - a celebration of International Women’s Day - in Marbella, that I collaborate on with this lady. Who is this you’re asking and how did you meet? As my family has been known to say – let’s have the short version!!

Connection

OK, some time back Steve Clarke thought this lady and I should have a chat, as both of us work with and support other businesswomen, so he introduced us over Twitter; busy as ever, the Tweet was missed over in Spain. A few days later, Annabel Kaye also thought this lady and I should chat, so she did a Twitter intro and bingo, this time we connected!

That is, with Ali Meehan of Costa Women fame – a social and business network of women in Spain. At the time, Ali was helping another entrepreneur with his conference and as a result I was invited to speak in Spain – at that point I became an international speaker! Gosh that venue was so hot, air-con not working.


What happened then....

Moving on… Ali and I decided we must “do something” together which would benefit the members of both our organisations… Flight prices escalated then, but in 2015 the first celebration of International Women’s Day with CostaWomen and 1230 TWC took place in the Andalucía Lab. An attractive, brilliant Government owned building in the heart of Malaga - conference room, helpful AVA staff, and atrium for the stands at our disposal.

So there it is, that’s how Ali and I met, and the rest as they say is history.

CostaWomen
1230 The Women's Company
Make It Happen

Cardinal Sin & Speednetworking!

I suppose it’s a bit like Father Christmas….. "He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice"… and that’s where the similarity stops, with me that is.

For every event, we/I have a check list:

  • Perspex stands - A4 and A5
  • Balloons
  • Roller bannersx 2 1230 TWC
  • Blue Tack
  • Brown tape

And so it goes on… and this gets checked as the items are brought out and as they are assembled prior to loading a vehicle/leaving the office

Except for my recent trip to the Make It Happen Conference in Marbella, Spain.



I
forgot
my
hooter!!!

business networking

I won’t bore you with the reasons why this happened, but it was an essential item for me to run the speednetworking session at the Make It Happen Conference.

On arriving at my hotel I set off in hot pursuit of a replacement (“hot” being the operative word, since it was an 80o day) - not even unpacking my case - no time, as it was just 2.5 hrs to the networking party that evening, and the Conference was the following day with 7.30 am start!!!!

toddler bicycle

Thinks…. There’s a primary school nearby, I wonder if they have a bicycle with said horn on that I could borrow? Just for a day. Seemed inspirational! Now you need to know that my Spanish is non-existent… well, I can say “please” and “thank you” and order chicken and chips – that’s just about it, oh and sparkling water.

I will leave it to your imagination as to how the conversation went with the teaching staff, suffice to say I came away empty handed, and they wondering who this totally insane English woman was!

So a quick phone call to Ali for shop suggestions, 1 hour later proved unfruitful. Must have lost some weight though in the hot running around - so a positive there! Dear Patrick (Ali’s OH) came to the rescue and saved the day with a choice of 2 hooters.

And I think you can say that the Speednetworking was a success!

hooter business

Toot Toot!

networking, pitch, elevator, businessnetworking, businesswomen

Death to the Elevator Pitch – Networking

with thanks to Charlotte Wibberley for tongue in cheek suggested title.

“Do I really have to stand up and give a 1 minute talk?” Let’s come back to that question, and answer.

Over the years, I’ve written many articles/blogs about the benefits of networking – not bad for someone who was dragged screaming and shouting to her first business women’s networking event, eh?!

One great opportunity at networking events is that most offer you the chance to stand up and speak to a supportive – please notice that word “supportive” – audience. None better is a female audience. Women are natural networkers and connectors. I enjoy nothing better than attending the various 1230 TWC group meetings and being able to learn and connect across them all.

Don’t only attend those events that don’t provide this opportunity just because they don’t provide the opportunity to stand up and speak!

1230 TWC wasn’t started with great intent. It started as a need for me to make contacts to grow my IT Training company. I was a virgin networker, observing others making those so vital connections. Build trusting business relationships – please note that word too - “relationships”. Awesome to see. But sooo awful to see was the SELLING!

The other thing we do well but sometimes ignore is to collaborate. Don’t look for milestones of hindrance, especially, don’t be concerned with “competitors” in “your” market place. There’s always something to learn and scope to explore opportunities to work together.

I digress!

sales

Some time ago I asked on Facebook what the word “pitch” implied/meant to the (business) readers. An emphatic “SALES/SELLING” came back, which they hated with a vengeance! So not only do we have – “I can’t possibly stand up and talk” but we also have SELLING!!! in our faces.
Are they part and parcel of the same issue?

According to Wikipedia:

An elevator pitch, elevator speech or elevator statement is a short sales pitch – there it is, “sales”.

Sales, selling – these are big turn-offs for many who might consider attending networking events. They don’t want to be sold to, neither do they want to sell.

Let’s be realistic. We’re in business to sell our products, our services. Networking allows us the opportunity to do this in a less “in yer face” way and much more.

So to answer the question “Do I really have to stand up and give a 1 minute talk?” No, you don’t. But why waste this chance to let everyone there know why they should come to you as opposed to your next-door neighbour. Again realistically, you’re unlikely to be able to talk to everyone individually, but they can then come to you and your expertise!

alarm clock hearts

11 points to remember about your 1 minute talk:

1) Planning is key

2) That includes practicing in the bathroom – yes, say it out LOUD.

a. Get used to the sound of your voice, and time yourself accordingly.

b. Remember 1 minute for example, is the maximum amount of time. If you can get your message over in less – congratulations! A definite no, no is to take liberties and overrun your maximum time.

3) You are in a supportive environment - everyone willing you to succeed

4) Demonstrate your expertise in your subject

5) Use humour, props – something that makes you memorable

6) It’s NOT ABOUT YOU – it’s about how you can help your listeners

7) You are in a supportive environment - everyone willing you to succeed
No, this isn’t a typo, just a reminder of a very important fact.

8) The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

9) One size doesn’t fit all. That is, vary each talk.

10) It’s not about what you DO, it’s about what you OFFER.

11) Be yourself! People buy people – and breathe!

1 Minute talk guide



Everyone who attends 1230 TWC meetings is given a copy of this card as an aide memoire. Inside is the 1230 TWC 1 Minute Guide, the text in grey is suggestions for varying detail as appropriate, with space to make notes from the meeting.

Networking is NOT about selling, it’s about building RELATIONSHIPS.

So please…. No more “elevator pitches”.
Stop it, NOW!
Just be yourself and speak!

The Woeful Tale of a Terabyte or 2

This 1TB (terabyte) SSD that you bought, yes… well, the machine only recognises 250GB.  Given that a terabyte is 1,000 Gigabytes (GB) 1024GB to be precise, that means that the HDD (hard disk drive) is only using a quarter/25% of its full capacity.

Hmmmm.  Still with me?

What is the difference between a Solid State Drive (SSD) and a Hard Disk Drive (HDD)?

A traditional HDD is a device made up of moving parts that uses spinning platters to store data. An SSD on the other hand uses flash memory and has no moving parts.

terabyte

Okayyyyy….

What am I talking about?  Data storage space, computers, PCs.  Those of you who know me will know that I’m not technical although I have been known to fit a few GB of RAM over the years.  OK, either way this SDD is dangerously full up, so said machine needs a new hard drive.  Seems that a 4TB hard drive would be a good move.

Stop!

The machine sees that it has 4TB hard drive, but only reads it as 2TB.  Eeeeek!

Screaming girl

Business: I’m not precious!

No, really… I’m not, honestly…… I mean it….. I’m NOT!

Sometimes I get asked why I don’t give a 1-minute talk at the 1230 The Women’s Company business meetings.

The answer is really simple

As the MD of 1230 The Women's Company, I'm always delighted to attend many of the business networking meetings, particularly where, with a whoop and a holler, the 1230 TWC Host will have introduced me at the beginning of the meeting and, to quote the wonderful Caroline Hewitt, “bigged me up!” Some attendees will already know me, some not.

Remember…. I‘m NOT precious. But that introduction gives me a warm glow, because it introduces me to so many awesome business women.

Attending so many meetings in different locations, enables me to cross-refer attendees.  Notice I say "attendees"?  Yes, of course, our Members always get preferential treatment, but if I can see a connection for anyone attending 1230 TWC meetings, I will make that connection for them.

As 1230 TWC is my business, I can give a talk at any meeting for 1 minute, 2 minutes, 20 minutes, 2 hours – however long I like – remember, I’m not precious.

Networking, about you, business women

The opportunity to give a 1 minute talk at 1230 TWC meetings is
YOUR moment to shine;
YOUR moment in the spotlight,
YOUR moment to let everyone know about what
YOU and YOUR business offer.

I’m not precious about me, but my business and those who attend are precious and YOU are precious. And I’m delighted to know you all.

I'm not precious
YOU - ARE!

See, I said it was simple!

So why not book in now and have your moment to shine!

 

Bagontour

 

#BagonTour – Bet you’d like one too!

I have a new, beautiful leather handbag, a Roanne Tote bag to be precise, to be even more precise – a handbag from the Shona Easton Design Studio! You can tell I’m delighted with it, can’t you?

Shona Easton

It’s a practical size, made in grainy calf leather in a fabulous pink colour – of course, and is much admired wherever I go. So what can I get inside, quite a lot actually. Mobile phone, which slips nicely into its own pocket, keys have their own secure clip, my purse also has its own pocket, I use the zip pocket for make-uppy bits, tablets, couple of pens and there are 2 large slip pockets – all in a beautiful deep rose taffeta lining. Those of you who know me well, know that I’m a belt and braces person, so my Filofax goes in as well, notebook, 1230 TWC business cards, currently promo cards for Business Women in Action Conference and 1230 TWC Note Cards.  I can tuck all my bits and pieces safely inside and zip everything in with a secure zip with lock and key fastening.  Also, I can conveniently carry the bag, handbag style, or slip it over my shoulder.

The designer (or Bag Lady, as she is affectionately known), Shona Easton tends to float between the Guildford and London 1230 TWC meetings, that's when she's not designing or visiting her overseas manufacturers. So why not come along and find out what else she has to offer. Shona is also speaking at the Business Women in Action Conference on 4 November.

Just check out the video to see where we've been together!

 

Bagontour

 

Lights, Camera, Action!

This time last week I was really out of my comfort zone!  I’d anticipated that this would happen, but what I hadn’t anticipated was the invaluable critique from The Red Carpet Academy super star – Leah Charles King!  I knew it would be a worthwhile day, but how worthwhile was yet to be seen.

So, where was I?  At The Red Carpet Academy 1 Day Intensive Training with Leah Charles King and her team in London, and some super other women – all being put through our paces to “face the camera!”  Although I’ve spoken in public on many occasions, both as a speaker and as a trainer and sat in front of my PC/laptop talking to the world – this was something different.

Each stage of our packed training day was critiqued by Leah, gently (but accurately) pointing our little foibles and making constructive, invaluable – yes I know I keep using that word – but it truly was – invaluable –  constructive criticism.

So here I am with the delightful Leah, my certificate and “the bag” (that’s another story).

Would I recommend The Red Carpet Academy?  You bet!!!  So if you’re looking to improve your public speaking and improve in front of camera, check out The Red Carpet Academy web site and book your session.

clapper board actionLights, Camera, Action!

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