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Its a one-way system to business development

Its a one-way system to business development with Reading on the grid of speedy networkers
Reading, Berkshire: 1st September 2010
With the days of flying by the seat of our pants now a dot on a fading horizon, it was with a mixture of whoop and worry that the Only Marketing Jobs team strode four hours early into the Ivory Lounge last week to set-up for the inaugural Reading Link-up, to which 265 eager marketers had registered to attend an evening of connection-making. 
The whoop was confirmation that hours of venue-identification had been rewarded with a snazzy bit of space the worry was realisation that if everyone who registered turned up, wed be significantly stuck for space like an elephant trying on a pair of Speedos.  To this end we set about squirreling tables and chairs into cavernous corners about the place, mindful that every inch of wooden floor counted.  Our pre-emption had served us well.
Jam-packed jamboree
A deluge of late arrivals contributed to confusing an earlier miscomprehension that we were under-populated.  Transport hiccups had momentarily immobilized a number of key figures, not least our resident career soothsayer, Suzie Sharpe, who was besieged throughout the evening by attendees seeking the inside track on their likely development for 2011.  Those fortune cards took one hell of a beating!
Mark Lester another member of the OMJ rat-pack was also running behind schedule but his CV-writing services were soon on hand to help those seeking job application advice.
Addressing the rabble
The structured part of the evening kicked-off at 7pm bang on time.  By now attendees had spent up to an hour making their own mischief, hooking-up with former colleagues and making acquaintance with friends of friends.  It seemed impertinent to interject at this stage but successful networking relies on connecting people with other people, through at least a semblance of structure. 
And so having announced the evenings sponsors, (which, with enormous thanks, included: website planning company, Smart|WP digital whiteboard solutions collaborator, eBeam emarketing intelligence provider, myemarketinglandscape Jill McCulloch from the Marketing College and social media workshop organisers, Social Media Directors) the stage was set for networking guru, Lloyd Dalton-Brown, to guide the throng some speed networking.
What its all about
Of course, the purpose of these events is to bring like-minded marketing people together, circumventing for a moment digital conversations, instead engaging on a one-on-one, face-to-face level.  And to be fair to Reading they embraced it with consummate ease and no shortage of gusto this despite the sometime PA troubles!
A wonderful blend of agency & client-side, online and offline marketers waltzed the floorboards, switching partners every six minutes to do the old one-two with someone new.  Seven spins later and it was all over, time having evaporated amidst windowed opportunities of thought-provoking sound bites and self-promotion much of which was aimed at local marketing recruiter, Xchangeteam, who, beautifully represented by Dee Pattni and Kim Christian, were guiding people looking for marketing jobs.
And so to this:
the champagne draw
Ah, the utopia moment at any Only Marketing Jobs event: if only 8.30pm came around sooner!  Perennial fizz-sponsors, and Thames Valley recruiters -  fishtank, were again on hand to help with the draw and, dressed brazenly in bubbles inscribed Ts, the two Hannahs (Newmarch and Sharp), were gleefully snapped with winner, Peter McConnell, a freelance marketer from Henley.
Additional mention here to myemarketinglandscape for kindly donating a magnificent digital camera for a separate draw, from which marketing manager, Valentin Danner, was randomly selected as winner.
Its safe to say Reading marketing folk like a bit of networking.  In fact, to some, one suspects the structured bit to the evening was the corned beef in an otherwise delicious sandwich.  Whilst there is no question new and exciting contacts were made, its clear that meeting face-to-face business development comes easily to the Thames Valley.  Perhaps its hardly surprising after all, with that one-way system you cant help but see the same people, over and over again
And thats why if were welcome well be back dancing the light fantastic sometime very soon.


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