Liz Weston on … the power of networking

Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s a waste of time. Networking is great – but here’s the caveat: you get out of it what you put into it. I was criticised a while ago for telling people to not meet up with others that they knew outside a networking event – that they had to go in, go for it and have a go on their own. But I stand by it. Go in, and have a go. What’s the worst that can happen?

I was talking to Wendy Howell, who has launched Design Essentials, through networking and getting out there, this evening. I’ve reflected on our conversation and realised that from one small networking meeting – the Business Studio, I’ve now met an entirely new group of women that I wouldn’t have previously known, taken on 3 client projects and made some friendships I very much hope will still be going when we’re old and wrinkly.

Yes, it’s been that good. And no, there’s no “secret sauce” to these outcomes. But I have done the following:
- researched people on the attendance list before I set foot out of the house
- ensured I attended with something interesting to say about myself and my work
- put my game face on – and walked in, with my opening line ready, with the purpose of meeting someone I’ve not met before. My line is usually, something about whether they’ve attended before, who else they know that’s attending or “are you new? welcome to the group, we all had to have a first time here at some point…”

I think that if we took time to do more networking, we’d be surprised with what the outcomes are. If we do it properly. Not in a rush, like this quickly put together blog post ;)

What are your experiences of networking? Good? Bad? Tips for others?

*Image credit to  (fabulous site, btw)

Liz Weston on… being 1 of the 25 Most Influential People in the Cambridge Business Community

Did you hear? I’m one of the Ones to Watch – 1 of the 25 Most Influential People in the Cambridge Business Community. I’m very flattered by this, and didn’t even know I’d been entered, let alone chosen, until this afternoon!

I’ll be at a reception at the Doubletree in the city on September 11 where the top three will be named. I very much doubt I’ll be one of them but it’s great news that a woman, and a young one at that, has been chosen for this. That it’s me, is an added bonus!

Just to clarify though, as you always need to when featured in the blessed media, my working in a hospital and cleaning, and the banana packing job were summer jobs when I was 18! Those quotes were provided as part of an interview I gave to the Cambridge Evening News months ago. It sounds like I was doing it last week!!! And I’d like to re assure my clients that I’m not moonlighting by packing banana’s at the weekends ;)

In all seriousness though, I’m really pleased with this. It shows that being persistent,
a positive networker – someone who introduces people to each other and shares their address book readily and looks for opportunities to “pay it forward” is a good thing.

What are you doing to make yourself influential and useful to people in your business community?


Liz Weston on why I love Seth (sometimes)

Sometimes I really disagree with Seth Godin. Which I know he won’t mind, because he wants people to have opinions. And then other times I feel like I’m back in church again, as  a teenager, wondering if the sermon was being delivered just for my benefit. It’s late, I’m about to go to bed, but here’s the message from Seth, that’s just arrived in my inbox:

All artists are self-taught
Techniques and skill and even a point of view are often handed down, formally or not. It’s easier to get started if you’re taught, of course. But art, the new, the ability to connect the dots and to make an impact–sooner or later, that can only come from one who creates, not from a teacher and not from a book.”

Yes, this is the join the dots and make the boxes game from when we were little ;)

I recently met someone who asked me how I knew what I did, on what basis I was making my opinions about things and how I was keeping ahead of the curve. I was honest – it’s all self taught / researched / watched / listened to. I haven’t had someone sit me down and tell me how things are in the world. I’ve worked it out and am continuing to do so, for myself. But I always add a disclaimer that “I don’t like people to know that, as I don’t want them to think less of me, or that I’m not smart”. The truth is, surely I’m getting smarter every day, because I’m not just listening to others – I’m making my ow mind up, connecting dots from all sorts of different arenas and seeing where they can take me, our clients and the markets we work in.
So when that blog post came in, I figured it was time to put myself out there. According to Seth Godin – I’m an Artist! And I’m putting the dots together, using my experience, knowledge, intuition, enquiring mind and enthusiasm for life, business and everything that goes with it. At this rate, I’ll soon be telling people about it up front, rather than hiding behind it!
Are you an Artist? How do you learn? What do you think is important when looking for people to work with – someone who works things out, or takes things that are just delivered to them as being gospel?

Liz Weston on… embracing competition

The lesson from Liz Weston today, on 1 April 2012, is not April Fool’s related. It’s simple. Don’t worry about your competition. Let them worry about themselves. I know this is a big thing to say – there’s monitoring, and worrying. They are different. Be the bigger business – morally, productively and then the financial aspect will take care of itself. Why am I writing this? Because I just came across this brilliant advert, from Apple, welcoming IBM to the personal computer market. It’s brilliant. And says everything I want to, but better. But that’s what Apple does every time, isn’t it? Enjoy.

Liz Weston social media, pr and communications voyeur, loves this apple advert welcoming IBM to the computer market

What do you think of this advert?

Liz Weston on… Questions for Rachel Elnaugh

On Tuesday night – the 27 March, I’m going to the Business Studio’s event in Saffron Walden where the speaker will be Rachel Elnaugh. I’m interested to go for several reasons.

1. To see how different she is to the image portrayed in the media. When someone’s been villified in the press, it can make them subsequently cautious in public. But something tells me she’ll be more forthright than that. .

2. To see how people act towards her – I have made assumptions about who will be sycophantic, who will be ultra cool and who’ll be too nervous to ask a question. I want to see if my assumptions are correct.

3. To see what she actually talks about – will she go into a big sales pitch for her other projects. Will she want people to buy her mentoring, to attend the big om (??) or to subscribe to her 100 day thing?

It’s funny, because I can’t remember why, but she said something a couple of years ago and I got really annoyed by it. I’m worried in case I don’t like what she says. But there’s nothing I love more than being wrong and I’ll report that in my blog about the night which will be live on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

What I really need help with, is thinking of interesting questions to ask her. I kick myself because I always think of my questions 48 hours after the fact, so if you can think of anything, please let me know so I can ask on your behalf! And make myself look cognisant at the same time :)

If you’d like to go, check out the Business Studio website to book a ticket. Please tweet me @TheLizWeston if you are going, so I can meet up with you when we’re there :)



Liz Weston on … taking too much time to think…

I confess, I’m taking too long thinking and digesting everything from the Learning Journey. My comrades and fellow learners have been quicker off the mark though, so please go and check out the following blogs and reviews from our tour of Silicon Valley…

James Tweed – a fabulous summary of the different businesses we visited

Jim Clarke – photos, quotes and quick blogs

Michael “Marple Leaf” Taylor – blogs and videos live as we toured Silicon Valley

One of the reasons I’m not putting content out on here is because I’m speaking next week at Cam Creatives and am busy prepping for that. But as well, I’ve been snowed under since we got back, so that’s another reason. Somtimes, you’ve just got to get your head down and get on with it :)

Have a good weekend!

Liz Weston on… not being able to go back to “how it was”…

That blooming #LearningJourney - I won’t be able to go back to work “as usual”.

Why? Because it’s fundamentally changed my outlook on work as an activity in its own right. This is the thing with “training” isn’t it? It either leaves you with so many things to consider that you feel that it all has to be done before you resume the activity of earning money itself or, that there’s been no tangible outcomes! There’s rarely something in the middle!!!

Thankfully, it’s the former, for me. From a practical perspective,I’ve got at least 28 blog posts bubbling away, waiting to be written from the #LearningJourney. And experience tells me I need to get them written up pronto tonto or I won’t remember them when I want to. So that’s one job stopping me getting back to “work” straight away, if nothing else!

But business isn’t like that. I can’t just stop everything to think – our clients need their work doing, so I’m going to set myself a couple of hours each day this week, to make headway. What are you going to do this week, that’s different for / in your business?


Liz Weston on … recognition as a Familypreneur by Sainbury’s

This is a short blog post, to essentially direct you to another blog post, if that makes sense, because I don’t want to duplicate my content online… It’s a good one though, and I’m really pleased with it. Not least because Sainsbury’s are know for doing good stuff in the family market, especially online. This is not a sponsored post, there’s no prize – it’s just being chosen, without applying, that’s made this something that’s made us so happy in the office this afternoon…

Liz Weston - social media, entrepreneur, public relations, media and marketing type

Without further ado, here’s the link to Liz Weston, Sainsbury’s Familypreneur :)

Liz Weston on … why I’m going on a #LearningJourney

One of the reasons why I’m going on a #LearningJourney is represented by the image below. It’s a granny. And she’s wearing purple. She looks all soft and fluffy but she’s actually made of strong stuff. Her core is made of wood, for a start ;)

I’ve deliberated over sharing this post online because I don’t want people to think me soft, or not made of strong stuff myself. But the truth is that I think there is a place for being up front about what inspires and motivates you.

This small, but perfectly formed granny reminds me of my own mum. (And my dad, but I didn’t get a grandad in the post, just the granny). So she’s going with me to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, to remind me of my parents who are one of the reasons why I’m going.

My parents are some of my biggest and best supporters of my decision to become self employed, to build a big office in our garden, to get out of my comfort zone, to take risks and to make the most of the opportunities that come my way. This trip is a perfect example of me doing many of those things – going out of my comfort zone, taking risks and making the most of opportunities.

So when you see the Granny popping up in the photos I take on the #LearningJourney, you’ll know why :) See, it’s good to share!

Liz Weston on… going on a journey

This time tomorrow, I’ll be packing my suitcase, ready to fly to California. Why? To go to San Francisco and specifically Silicon Valley to meet top bods from Google, LinkedIn, Whipsaw, DPR Construction, Bridgebank, Berkeley University, Obscura Digital,, Stanford University, Keiretsu Forum and Plantronics.

Some of them are household names. Some aren’t. But I think I’m going to learn as much from the lesser known names as the big ones. Something tells me that they are on the list for a *reason* :)

I will do my best to blog about different aspects of the trip – the practicalities, the people I’m travelling with, the people we meet and the businesses and institutions we are exposed to.

If you want to keep track of my tweets about my experience over the next week, check me out on twitter @TheLizWeston – I’ll use #LearningJourney wherever possible and hope that although I’ll be travelling out there solo, I’ll be able to share as much of it as possible with everyone who would like to be with me, but isn’t for this particular trip.