Business DevelopmentNetworking

Why so serious? How to do more by having fun

The “My Networking Week” section of last week’s newsletter chronicled a couple of ‘school day’ nights out spent partying. Monday night saw the charity fundraising Rugby Legends Dinner in aid of Hospitality Action South West at The Deer Park Hotel and on Thursday, it was the turn of the Exeter Living Awards held at Exeter’s Great Hall. Both events proved to be huge fun with plenty to celebrate - the Dinner raised £40,000 for the charity and the Awards evening was a great way of catching up with Samphire members and friends, and of course toasting Clear Property’s marvellous win.

Having fun and promoting an enjoyable way of coming together to network is core to The Samphire Club’s ethos. In fact it’s one of the main reasons I set up the club.

I wanted people to have fun while they were engaged in the vey serious business of networking.

Every Samphire Club event, whether it’s a working breakfast or a Masterclass, is designed to follow a perfect recipe - bringing people and possibilities together in outstanding settings, all the better to develop valuable business relationships.

Having fun and being productive are not mutually exclusive – in fact, making sure there's enjoyment in our working lives is good for us and great for our businesses. It increases our productivity not to mention our wellbeing, creativity and engagement with whatever we’re doing. It also improves our facility for communicating and collaborating more effectively. In my opinion, an occasional blurring of work/life and not being obsessed with achieving that all-too-elusive balance can be a very positive thing!

A lot of this feel-good factor comes from feeling connected to the people around you and being part of a community. Margaret Heffernan, in her TED talks and in her book “Beyond Measure,” identifies connectedness and empathy, the building blocks of social capital, as key ingredients in improving business performance.

We see it in professional team sports time and time again. It’s never a question of randomly assembling the brightest individual talent in a quest for success, it’s how those people interact and work together that determines whether they go from good to great.

That social capital you develop through having fun together is often a deliberate and conscious by-product of building meaningful connections, of taking the time to understand the people around you – your workplace colleagues and associates, and people in your sector and wider business community.

Those that get the most out of their networking (and have the most fun) know how to capitalise on those valuable social moments when everyone’s enjoying themselves.