Posts Tagged ‘Networking’

We were joined for the first Cardiff Breakfast Club of the season by Ron Jones, Founder and Executive Chairman of ‘super-indie’ television production company Tinopolis. Ron has been awarded the CBE for his contribution to the media industry and is an advisor on the creative industries to the Welsh Government. His talk focused on the economic benefits of supporting the creative industries – particularly television and film – in Wales.

Ron began by explaining that all government worldwide are now realising that the creative industries are important in driving economic growth, and that in countries such as Singapore governments are ‘throwing money’ at creative projects, creating a highly competitive environment in which Welsh companies have to compete.

However, Ron stressed the fact that the creative industries are an area in which Wales holds its own thanks to the talent and expertise within the industry. The sector now employs 75,000 people – an increase of 50% over the last ten years. With the average weekly earnings for employees in the industry between £710 and £720 a week, much higher than other priority sectors, the contribution of those working in the creative industries to the economy is substantial.

Ron expressed concern that few Welsh companies were heading ‘for the high seas’ to compete across the world in what has become a global industry and emphasised the need for Welsh television to compete across the world. Ron’s own company, Tinopolis, has offices across the UK, LA, Middle East and Singapore and will have a turnover of £250million this year. He used Tinopolis as an example to show that Wales is not at a competitive disadvantage and that technology means
that there is no reason why Wales shouldn’t be a ‘global player’.
Cardiff Breakfast ClubRon also stressed the need for help and funding for the Welsh creative industries from the government, pointing out that;“Much of the growth has come from small micro-businesses of which some have the potential to become significant players. We need to match government funds to the needs of these companies.”

Ron noted that there are many talented and supportive civil servants working within the Welsh Government and that a good relationship has been established between the creative sector and the government, but that there is still obstruction to finding and support that needs to be addressed to help Wales become a global player in the industry.

The next Breakfast Club will be held on 23rd October with guest speaker Tim Williams, Chief Executive of the Welsh Automotive Forum. For further information and booking details, please contact or phone 02920 549597.

Gareth Davies addresses the Club

Gareth Davies addresses the Breakfast Club

We were lucky enough to have been joined by Gareth Davies, Chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) as the speaker for this month’s Breakfast Club. An ex British Lion and Captain of Wales, Gareth has an illustrious sporting background as well as a strong professional and business record, and has previously held the position of Chairman of the Sports Council for Wales and Commissioning Editor for Sports and Events at S4C.

Gareth began his presentation by explaining that one of his first priorities when becoming Chairman of the WRU was to develop ‘greater unity’ within the organisation. In order to achieve this, Gareth is committed to making the Union more open and transparent, and improving communication between all levels, from club to elite.

Gareth believes that as the elite level is very successful, the WRU needs to concentrate on creating a strong grassroots foundation in order to develop players for the future. One of the projects currently underway in this area is the School Club Hub Initiative. The WRU has been working with 43 schools across Wales to establish Rugby Development Officers in each school. The project, which is half funded by the WRU and half by the schools, has been hugely successful, with the number of schools involved set to double in September.

Copy of Cardiff Breakfast Club Gareth Davies Image 3 - compressedGareth also discussed some of the issues surrounding the Millennium Stadium as an asset of the WRU. Now 15 years old, the ongoing maintenance costs are extensive, with the current priority being the need for all the Stadium seats to be replaced over the next few years, an enterprise which will cost the Union £4/5 million. The WRU are also looking to expand the footprint of the Stadium, and Gareth is looking forward to the Stadium hosting 8 matches for the upcoming World Cup as a key opportunity for the Stadium to be exhibited to the world.

Gareth concluded his presentation by highlighting some of the changes to the WRU Board itself. The Union has recently appointed two new non-exec directors and for the first time ever, its first female board member. Gareth also explained that they are looking to bring in more outside expertise and have created a special advisory board of 5 individuals from worldwide businesses who can use their business knowledge to advise the WRU on particular projects.

The next Breakfast Club will be held on 18th June with guest speaker Simon Powell, CEO of Eysys. For further information and booking details, please contact or phone 02920 549597.

It struck me on the train to and from London yesterday as well as travelling on the underground that so many of us, especially the younger generation, rely so much upon our mobiles.

'Cocooned' consumers: Are we becoming too dependent on our mobiles?

It was refreshing to arrive at a reception in the magnificent Merchant Taylor’s Hall in Threadneedle Street before the annual NCWE Awards ceremony to actually mingle and talk face to face with people, communicating with body language, eye movement, gestures, as well as listening and waiting before answering questions. It was a delight to engage with Nikki and Hannah from Holiday Extras, one of the NCWE sponsors, who told me more about their organisation and themselves that I would have gathered from their company’s website.

It does worry me that in our digital age many traditional ways of communicating are becoming lost to younger generations. As marketing advisors we have to be so very careful of giving clients the right advice on using digital media – using it as part of a multifaceted communication campaign, not as the only method, which seems to be the vogue for so many at present. Indeed, as I read in yesterday’s Evening Standard, M&C Saatchi credit the soaring demand from clients wanting to create apps and buy advertising on mobile devices with helping them double their annual profits to a record £16 million! As Chief Executive David Kershaw said, margins are better in sectors such as digital as “clients are prepared to pay more for that which they know less about.”

Network failure: a multifaceted approach to communication is vital.

So while it appears there is no stopping the rise of digital promotion, marketers should remember that as research from the Consumer Knowledge Centre says, “the cocooned consumer is looking to brands for resonance, nurturing, and genuineness; brands must offer support and transparency.” I doubt that this can be done solely in messages of 140 characters. The case for a multifaceted approach to campaigns is vital in both the short and long term for all advertisers.

Thank goodness, otherwise I would have to admit defeat and never step out of my front door, do all my networking, and communicate by iPhone, emails, etc. I would save a lot on clothes, cleaning offices and in other areas, but would miss the social interaction and genuine enjoyments of meeting people face to face.

Cardiff Breakfast Club Thursday 29th September 2011

Special Guest Speaker: Professor Robert Huggins,Cardiff University

Presentation Topic: Culture and the Economy

We are delighted that Robert Huggins has chosen the Breakfast Club as the platform to launch his latest research into Culture and the Economy. Using Wales as a case study he analyses the extent to which community and business cultures differ across the localities of Wales and between Wales and other regions and nations. This has significant implications for economic development and we will be able to see what the impact is upon Cardiff.

Having previously lectured at the University of Sheffield and UWIC, Professor Huggins was appointed as Chair of Economic Geography at Cardiff University and Director of its Centre for Advanced Studies in September 2011. His key areas of research include the study of competitiveness, innovation, culture, and economic development. He acts as a policy advisor and consultant to a range of organizations, and is committed to furthering research that informs corporate strategy and public policy.

The next Club Meeting will be held on Thursday 29th September 2011 at The St. David’s Hotel & Spa, Cardiff Bay.  As usual, we will commence at 7.45am and finish by 9.15am.  Breakfast will be served promptly at 8.00am.

We would be delighted if you were able to join us.  If you wish to attend, please  email Becci Gould, Account Executive on no later than Tuesday 27th September 2011. 

Please note, any seating requests should be made clear at time of booking.  The Cardiff Breakfast Club regrets there can be no refunds should you cancel after Tuesday 27th September 2011.  Should you be unable to attend, a substitute is welcome at no extra charge.

Please also note that the next event for your diaries will be held on Wednesday 19th October with guest speaker Lt Colonel David Wheeler, 2 R Welsh.

We hope you can find time to join us and look forward to seeing you.

By Becci Gould, Account Executive

When beginning my career in public relations and events, as an ex-English Literature student relatively new to the business world, I felt completely out of my depth when thrown into networking situations.

With experience in events management already under my belt, I had no qualms about single-handedly organising the Cardiff Breakfast Club meeting only two weeks into my time at Petersens. However, outside of the comfort zone of the Cardiff Breakfast Club, I felt like a lost puppy, inexperienced and out-of-place. 

As a concept networking is unusual:  a group of people gathering together with the aim of acquiring information from each other, whether it is advice, business or contacts. Although on the surface the upfront selfishness of networking appears strange, is the concept that different to the interaction that takes place in other situations?

Presumably many of the relationships we build and maintain outside of business have benefits to us personally, whether it be friendship, enjoyment, support or advice – we all want or need something from our friendships even if it is to feel better about ourselves by offering our own support or advice. The difference is we are just not that upfront about what we want from the relationship.

In simple terms, networking is just a shortcut – and in the business world this works.

Once you can get your head around the fact that people are talking to you because they need to rather than because they want to, networking can actually be quite an interesting and enjoyable experience. Nevertheless in my opinion, it is certainly an acquired art…and presently one I am yet to get the hang of.

In a quest to conquer the lost puppy feeling that usually overwhelms me in networking situations, yesterday I decided to attend a workshop specifically designed to improve networking skills.

The free workshop presented by Tim Campbell, winner of the first series of the Apprentice, and organised by Cardiff Council and South Wales Chamber of Commerce was aimed at those taking their first steps in business whether it be starting up a business or beginning a new career.

The workshop began with a short game of musical chairs, where we were asked to leave the comfort of those we had dragged along with us and brave the array of unknown faces that filled the room. Once acquainted with our new ‘friends’, we were asked to tell them one thing that we needed in business in order to practice being open and direct.

Although sat by music students, who unfortunately informed me that they could not teach me how to play the tuba in ten minutes, I did discover that networking isn’t just about getting what you want but also about helping others as, in this case, I was able to offer one student career advice and work experience in event management.

Was this successful networking? I think so – even though I didn’t get what I had needed, I had got our name out there and gained comfort in the fact that I wasn’t the only one who was daunted by the prospect of networking!

So how do the professionals do it?

Here are some tips I picked up from the workshop:

Before the event

  1. Prepare your pitch – What is it that your organisation does? What is the idea behind it? What are the benefits? Where’s the proof? What do you want?
  2. Ask the organisers for an attendee list – study the list, determine who may be useful to you and what you want from them.

At the event

  1. Swap your name badge for a business card – this is about you and your company not the organisers
  2. Scan the room, warm your hands (no-one likes a cold hand) , locate the bar (very important), take a glass in one hand and transfer to the other to avoid clammy hands, scan the room
  3. Locate your first potential connection – usually someone standing on their own
  4. Approach with a smile, ask permission to join them, then introduce yourself
  5. In terms of body language – keep an open stance so people can approach you at any point

Moving on

Networking is a dance not a marriage”  – Tim Campbell

  1.  Don’t spend all your time with one person – once you’ve got what you want from them or exhausted the conversations, don’t be afraid to move on
  2. If you haven’t connected with a person– begin looking over their shoulder for your next target, pretend you’re going to the bar (ONLY if his/her drink is still full), then politely move on
  3. If the conversation has been successful or you got on well with the person – offer to introduce him/her to another connection then leave the conversation yourself (sly but not so offensive)

Business Cards

  1. If someone gives you a business card, it is polite to give them one back – keep business cards in your jacket pocket if possible
  2. Keep all useful business cards in one pocket and any you don’t need/want (but were too polite to tell them) in the other pocket

After the event

  1. Redeem your new business cards – check they all make sense in their respective piles – discard of any you really don’t need and store useful contacts in a safe place or transfer details to a database
  2. Follow up any successful connections with a thank you email
  3. Relax

Petersens’ Tips

  1. If you’re on Twitter, why not see if the event has a specific hash tag e.g. #cardiffbreakfastclub so you can join in any debates and interesting topics that may be going on before, during and after the event.
  2. Arrive early – people will then have to approach you rather than the other way around
  3. Ask open-ended questions to avoid short ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to prevent that dreaded awkward silence
  4. Don’t drink too much – pretty hard to go wrong at the Cardiff Breakfast Club with orange and cranberry juice but good to remember
  5. Don’t talk about yourself too much or be too negative (nobody likes a misery guts) – try to remain positive and interested at all times 

Seem Simple? Try it yourself by attending a Cardiff Breakfast Club business networking event…just email Becci Gould on for details.