On the afternoon of Tuesday 30th June 2015 our flight descended into London Heathrow airport after six years living and working abroad as an expat in the Middle East and Australia. Once the initial flurry of move related administration and excitement of a quick trip over to Germany to race Challenge Roth; the biggest global long-distance triathlon, a rather daunting realisation hit home.
After an extended period of time overseas returning to the United Kingdom meant my British based network displayed several similarities to a blank sheet of paper. This initially overwhelming recognition kick started a frantic whirlwind of “networking” that with hindsight was relatively disorganised, unsystematic and frankly rather haphazard. Taking some time to reflect back on the last two years of time and money invested in endless cups of mediocre coffee, plates of over-cooked fried breakfasts and glasses of warm white wine which seem to serve as the main backdrop for British networking events revealed a multitude of lessons learnt.
Networking successfully requires a long-term commitment with a substantial amount of focus, energy and a healthy dose of inner confidence and I shared some of my ideas with the Officers’ Association in this interview. In retrospect, the last couple of years have been an interesting journey and I’ve inevitably learnt something from every networking breakfast, lunch, drinks, coffee, conference, meetup and passing conversation.
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t” - Bill Nye
My greatest networking revelation has been stepping outside to create a series of netwalks with fellow outdoor enthusiast Wafaa Powell, owner of “Dancing Flavours” who combines her passions of cooking and belly dancing in her own business. Through our netwalks I’ve given myself permission to take networking away from our accepted cultural norms where the concept of “work” is often confined within four walls and carried out by suit attired individuals.
By heading outdoors and combining networking with walking I find the dynamic shifts to generate a more relaxed atmosphere where deeper conversations naturally unfold tapping into our authentic human nature. Over 2,500 years ago the ancient Greeks regularly adopted this walking into their intellectual deliberations; aptly