Journalist, SHP Online

June 29, 2016

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SHE1000 networking masterclass helps to break down barriers

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As part of SHExpo’s series of networking events, SHE1000 concluded the three day exhibition at ExCel last week, with a gathering of hundreds of women involved in protecting and managing premises.

As well as nibbling cupcakes and sipping prosecco, the event gave all involved a networking masterclass from expert Heather White, CEO at Smarter Networking Ltd.

It wasn’t just women who attended the event, men showing support of their female colleagues were also given the chance to learn about working a room, and finding the confidence to network effectively.

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Ahead of the event, everyone who registered was asked to share what they wanted to gain from the workshop and in summary they asked for:

  • How to be more confident
  • How to gain more knowledge
  • How to make more connections
  • How to find leads
  • How to meet more women in H&S
  • How to gain buy-in from senior executives
  • How to have productive conversations.

Despite the terrible weather on the day, hundreds of eager participants made their way to ExCel and spent an hour listening to and interacting with each other, understanding the importance of networking, why it can be so daunting, and how to break down the barriers. Heather taught the audience skills for moving around a room at a networking event, how to approach groups of people and creating an impact when introducing oneself.

Selfies taken at the event

Networking selfies taken at the event

 

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Putting themselves somewhat out of their comfort zone, the audience were split into groups, and, using interactive technology from Green Hat People, they were able to make a commitment going forward about the things they would like to do differently in the future, to gain more from networking. The commitments included:

  • Be brave and meet someone not like me.
  • Improve the way I approach people, especially men… Firmer handshake!
  • Be brave, say what is the worst thing that can happen. Just do it if you try you will learn.
  • Stand taller and exude confidence even if I don’t feel it.
  • Look at whether it’s a closed or open group.
  • Look at making an impact.
  • Talk, laugh, smile and ask questions.

Following the day’s success, Heather said: “By stepping up and sticking out your hand can be the start of something extraordinary. Your hello and willingness to be curious to offer thoughts can and often does, lead to amazing opportunities. That scary person is normally really interesting and often not scary at all, once you have got to know them a little bit better.

“If you want to have change in your life then you need to change stuff and take a risk today.”

Dr Simon Joyston-Bechal, Director at Turnstone Law, one of a handful of men at the event, said: “Having given talks at two recent IOSH branch events, I was struck by the very low proportion of women attending, probably less than 5%.

“Speaking to female health & safety professionals at SHE1000, I heard first-hand how daunting it can be for women to break into male circles at networking events.  It would be a shame if the great talent pool of women health & safety professionals is being held back by this reticence and so the networking training for women was a useful empowerment tool.”

Kizzy Augustin, Senior Associate at Pinsent Masons LLP said: “The SHE1000 event was fantastic – Heather White did a great job of helping the huge group of women (and a few men!) to understand the importance of good networking, but she did it in a fun and interactive way.

“It was really important for the many women who have chosen to specialise in health and safety to have a forum to get together and feel empowered. I appreciate the “voice” and the potential connections that SHE1000 is able to provide for those who need it and I like the fact that the SHE events are not just for women – the men get to give their point of view as well!”

You can find out more about Smarter Networking here or email Heather directly: heather@smarter-networking.com

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Malcolm Griffiths

The idea of a special women’s session of anything is pathetic and divisive. Silly idea.

Helen Rawlinson

What a shame you feel that way Malcolm, you must work in a diverse work environment which is great, I do too. Maybe you could come along to the next event (men are invited too!) and see what a difference it makes. I personally saw a relaxed and fun environment where both men and women developed their networking skills.
I’ll even share my prosecco with you…. 😀

Trevor Inglis

I have no problem with this sort of event but I do wish people would proof read things before putting them on line!

“How to be more confidence” ?

Remember that negatives stick in the mind longer than positives.

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