Wow, what a morning we had in Oxford today! I recently took over this group as Area Leader and it was only my fourth visit to 4N Oxford since I joined in 2008 but today’s meeting really was great fun, despite the problems that the venue posed by just being too small! We had 22 people in the room including five visitors – sometimes it feels like a struggle to get one new person along so to have five come all at once was remarkable. I hope they all enjoyed the meeting and got a good feel for what 4Networking is all about – fun as well as business!
The meeting kicked off with the round of 40-second introductions and I was trying out a new one today. I had a session with Chantal Cornelius of Appletree earlier in the week and she gave me some great ideas for ways of highlighting specific areas of what I do as The Proof Fairy, so this was the second run-through of my new spiel (the first attempt coming at the Witney meeting yesterday). Chantal was there today and had a surprise for me – a pair of sparkly purple deely boppers! I’m not really one for fancy dress but I guess I am a fairy, of sorts, and need some props, so I donned the headwear and did my bit and think it went down well – Chantal gave me 8/10 anyway! There were some very entertaining “turns” in the intro round today, and lots of props too – we had an inflatable alien, reindeer antlers, a space shuttle and a doctor’s coat, as well as one member shocking us all as he started a striptease act! Luckily 40 seconds wasn’t long enough for him to get too far! We managed to get a few fun fines from people for the Cash4Pash fund too.
Our 4sight speaker today was Brendan Johnson of Outside the Asylum. I’ve never met Brendan before but he’s quite a controversial character on the 4N forum – in a nice way – so I was looking forward to hearing him speak but had absolutely no idea what to expect! Brendan looked resplendent in a purple suit, shirt and matching purple Crocs, and had everyone enthralled by his talk on how everything we believe to be true is actually just an illusion. It really brought home how fragile life is and how we should really ignore what people tell us, go for our dreams and live every day as if it was our last. Powerful stuff and I’d happily see him 4sight again.
Then came the three one to one rounds. My first was with print management guy Martin Wyvill of Springwater Solutions. I often have clients who want print quotes and though I have a local contact that I can go to, it is always good to have a second opinion, as it were, so Martin and I chatted about how he works and what kind of print he can offer, and I’m sure I’ll be turning to him for a quote soon!
My second meeting was with one of the visitors, Robert Whiting of Artisan Estates. Robert is a chartered surveyor who also offers a range of estate management services. This isn’t an area I know much about and it was interesting to hear how the recession has affected his industry. Just to prove 4N is not all about business, we also chatted about chick lit!
My third and final meeting for the day was with another visitor, Anna Lee of Eye Level Science. Anna organises after school / holiday science clubs for primary age children and we had a fascinating discussion about how important science is and how to make it more appealing to kids! One of my aims as 4N area leader is to make sure that everyone, members and visitors alike, get lots out of every meeting, so I’m hoping to put Anna in touch with some people who can help her to better market her clubs.
So, another very successful meeting – and the last one we will probably hold at The Longwall. It’s become apparent that the group is so successful that we’ve outgrown the venue – today’s meeting had to be held on split levels with most people in a raised area and half a dozen on tables a few feet below, and it wasn’t ideal. Luckily we have found a superb new venue, Hawkwell House Hotel in Iffley Village, and we will be giving it its first run out in a fortnight, on Thurs 25th February. I’m really excited about the move – visit the 4Networking website if you fancy coming along to the next Oxford meeting and seeing it for yourself!