Spreading the message further afield

As my stroke-education message is increasingly aimed at self-employed business-owners, I do a lot of business networking. My primary targets are around my home area of Tamworth and Lichfield but I also make a point of going further afield and taking in venues across the Midlands and even further afield.

I am currently booked in for meetings over the next couple of months in Walsall, Worcester Leamington Spa, Wolverhampton and even Manchester. It's all designed to comply with one of the golden rules of networking - don't fall into the trap of going to the same groups and finding yourself talking to the same people all the time. They'll quickly become over-familiar (and thus bored) with what you have to say and you'll be wasting your own time because you won't be getting your message over to a new audience.

It's something which Stefan Thomas, one of the gurus of business networking and a great friend of mine, emphasises. If you're interested in this field and you haven't read his books on the subject, you should. He's at stefanthomas.biz.

With me, of course, the latter point is crucial. The more business-owners I can speak to, the more people I can hopefully persuade that an over-stressed lifestyle with no financial planning is incredibly dangerous. Thus it was that I found myself well out of my normal environment on Monday this week,  at a golf club in Dunchurch, near Rugby. And of the 20 people present, 11 were completely new to me.

Of those 11, one runs a first-aid training company (obviously, the more people who are trained in first aid, the more people will handle the situation correctly if someone suffers a stroke in front of them) and another is a financial planner, whose business is trying to persuade people that they need to have something in place if a life-changing health-event happens. He knows and I know that most people don't do it because they don't think it will happen. Of course, I am living, breathing proof that it can.

I now have firm arrangements to meet those people and see how we can work together to spread our messages; a perfect example of how networking works. Not only that, but I spoke to at least another half-dozen people who were interested in hearing my story and telling others about me. Again, networking at its' best.

Then on Tuesday, I spread my wings even further afield. For reasons I don't need to trouble you with, I was unable to do my usual session with #breathebalancebeactivatedemily; instead, she and I went to a free networking event in Derby, an area I rarely venture into. It was a whole new audience for me; a room with 25 people, of whom I had previously met precisely two - Emily and a gentleman from a business support organisation in the East Midlands to whom I am connected on LinkedIn. As usual, my brief resume of my story really made the whole room think and I came away from the two-hour meeting with a number of new connections, some offers of the chance to speak at events and having made plenty more people aware of the dangers of work-stress.

If I hadn't made the effort to go to those meetings, I wouldn't have been given further opportunities to spread my message. And I wouldn't have met people who could be really useful in doing that.

It's what The Warrior - and this blog - is all about.