Champagne and Cement
The sunlight glittered on the river Thames as the pop of champagne corks could be heard over the laughter and chatter of the excited crowd gathered in
the stunning Phyllis Court. The Henley Regatta is one of the iconic British Summer events and last month 30 members from various Opendoorz business
networking groups across Oxfordshire & Berkshire joined together for exceptional food and hospitality as well as lots of exciting rowing with a
bird’s eye view of the finish line. It was a memorable day filled with champagne and cement.
That’s right… I did say ‘cement’.
Over the last nine years, the Opendoorz formula for networking and business support has proven to be an effective and integral part of our members’ business development strategies. There’s lots of reasons for this:- the uncompromising calibre of the members and guests, the structure and format of the twice monthly meetings, the showcase opportunities, the CPD sessions and the Insight meetings members have with each other to name but a few. Even with all of that and more through the structured meetings we know that the golden ingredient in why Opendoorz is so successful for our members is the CEMENT.
At Opendoorz we know that when you get likeminded groups of business professionals together socially, supporting each other’s business activities and making time for catch ups with no defined agenda then you get strongly cemented relationships built on friendship and trust.
It’s an age-old adage but it still holds true: ‘People buy from people’. You have to know, like and trust someone before you will do business with them or recommend them to others. Therefore, getting to know each other on a personal level as well as a business level makes good sense.
Participating in additional social activities is crucial to reinforce trust, credibility and likeability and naturally leads to better professional relationships where business happens. That’s why at Opendoorz we not only encourage members to do this but also regularly host social events.
Of course, they’re not all as glamorous as Henley Regatta. Over the years we’ve punted (sometimes in the rain!), escaped locked rooms (well some of us did!), dressed up for Secret Cinema nights, cheered on rugby teams and sung our hearts out in Piano Bars.
These ‘extra-curricular’ activities have become a key part of the Opendoorz ethos and are planned into the calendar well in advance. For our members, they are a really important feature of the Opendoorz community as they tell us this type of bonding leads to new business support and business development opportunities. We actively encourage all members to get involved as there is no doubt in our minds, or that of our members, that relaxing and having fun together strengthens, relationships and alliances and is the primary reason others rave about and refer you.
As well as the social events at Opendoorz we also get heavily involved in charity activities. Generosity of spirit is one of our core values and we firmly believe in the mutual benefits of supporting charitable causes. It’s a key part of our business strategy and we regularly host our own charity events. From balls to tea parties and from informative talks to wing walks (our latest charity event – eek!). These are all excellent opportunities for our members to pull together and make a difference, raising much needed funds for local Oxfordshire and Berkshire charities as well as enjoying the ‘feel good’ factor on a personal level. This undoubtedly adds more of that all-important cement to our members’ relationships.
Variety is key to our events calendar to ensure that there’s something for everyone’s taste. Different events bring out different sides to our personalities allowing our colleagues to get to know us in a more rounded way. We often hear “Well, I never thought you’d be up for…” or “I didn’t realise you could do that!”
Activity based events play to competitive natures and we see each other’s determination and how they celebrate victories or deal with disappoints. Charity events nurture our caring side allowing us to feel we make a difference and to see those who really go the extra mile for others. Events based around the arts and culture bring a certain sophistication and allow us to appreciate each others interests and hobbies. Quizzes are always good fun and you always find about someone’s obscure knowledge on a random subject! Joining in these events whether they’re up your street or push you out of your comfort zone will undoubtedly be a good thing for developing relationships. Taking the whole ‘business done over a game of golf’ concept further creates camaraderie, emotion, laughter and bonding which all add value to an existing business networking relationship.
There’s a misconception that joining a networking group, paying your fees and turning up is enough to guarantee you referrals and business opportunities. People who suffer from it are easy to spot as they are usually the ones saying ‘Networking doesn’t work!’
Networking can and does work. You need the right arena for your business, a high calibre of members who understand relationship development, opportunities to showcase your expertise, a well-structured meeting, good quality guests, and an environment of peer support. These are all good foundations but the key is the cement that binds us together. Knowing, liking, trusting each other is the business networking cement and to make it really strong and secure you have to build those relationships in AND OUT of the meeting room. That’s the Opendoorz philosophy and over nine years it’s proven to hold as strong as the Tower of London.
If you like the sound of a professional business networking group that offers you a tried and tested formula for building strong and successful business relationships get in touch and come along to a guest event.