Author Profile Picture

Adrian Pitt

Develop-meant Training Consultants


Read more from Adrian Pitt

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

When networking is notworking!


Adrian Pitt, owner of Develop-meant Training Consultants, explains why his first round of networking scarred him for life and how he needs more than the offer of a bacon bap to tempt him out of hiding!

Self-Employment can be a lonely old life. I remember "Day One" for me was pretty miserable. Sat at home, fingering the filling of a Jammy Dodger (I was comfort eating!) staring at a missed cobweb, tempted to turn on "Vasectomy Watch" or "Animals Do The Funniest Things On Acid" or whatever tripe they show on daytime TV these days! Were there like-minded people in Shropshire who had just given up a 30-odd-thousand-pounds-a-year job for a life of navel-gazing, Pot Noodle and Monster Munch sandwiches?! I had to find out...

Fortunately, my best mate's sister and fellow trainer, Suzanne, had moved back to the area from Berkshire and we were keen to explore the networking opportunities in our beautiful county. A spot of Googling later and we'd invited ourselves along to a small local forum, tempted by offers of bacon baps, Danish pastries and the opportunity to find out if there were other crazed fools out there having a mid-life crisis!

"Welcome!" said the lovely lady in a gingham two-piece on our arrival at the hotel. "You are ready to do your sixty-second spiel are you not?" Now, gentlemen, you know that feeling when your...ahem..."down below bits" rise up to your belly faster than Willy Wonka's Great Glass Elevator?! Well, let's just say mine did the High Jump and have signed up to join the Decathlon Squad of the 2012 Olympics! Suzanne and I looked at each other aghast! "Sixty-Second Spiel?!" That wasn't part of the deal!

Of course, we immediately lost our appetites and stood cowering like a couple of kittens in the corner! With hardly a moment to gather our composure (or to find the exit!) we were ushered to our seats by our tablecloth-wearing hostess, where fellow "networkers" gave us sideways glances, friendly nods and that "look" that says: "YUM! YUM! Fresh meat!"

And so, the introductions 'creeping death' it was! Suzanne and I weren't listening. Liberace could have stood up in a longline bra and we wouldn't have twigged on! The others in the room were SO good, you could tell they'd been to the "Angela Rippon School of Sixty-Second Spiel-ness". What on EARTH could I tell them about myself?!?! "Hello, I'm Ade and yes, I used to read the boy's problem section of my sister's Just Seventeen...I know what you're thinking - that won't get me very far in the business world - however, I do know how to clear up a decidely bad bout of back acne!"

Suzanne was eloquent (I hated her!) AND it was exactly sixty seconds long! I gave her one of my "I've just been turned down for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar" smiles, stood up, knees knocking more than a privy door in a thunderstorm and prepared to project my spur-of-the-moment minute. I couldn't to this day tell you what I said! I know I got a laugh, which helps, tumbleweed didn't whiz past me as I sat down and the gingham goddess et al gave me a round of applause!

Remember that corner Suzanne and I were cowering in? That's where you'll find us 45 minutes later, only this time, it's coffee break and we're approached by entrepreneurs keen to encircle us like rabid wolves. "Hmmmm...nice business card!" we coo to one gentleman through gritted smiles as we unfold the equivalent of the Bayeux Tapestry! "Hi! I'm Annabel," says a rather horsey- looking lady as she launches her card at me: "If you're ever after a side-winding thermal body belt to take away the chill during those cold winter months at the office, I've got them in several colours, shapes and sizes!" "Daaaarling! In need of coaching?" shouts across a Mrs Doubtfire look-alike, "I've got free taster sessions happening all next week..." by the time I'd finished chatting to her, I felt like I'd been through a serious stretch of post-natal depression, acquired a new-found inferiority complex, along with a burning desire to self harm with the bacon tongues on an adjacent table!

"Quick Suzanne! Let's get outta here!" If Batman and Robin appeared at a "50% Off Lycra Sale" at Ethel Austin they couldn't have shifted themselves any faster! We made for our 'Trainer-mobile' and scarpered down the driveway! A HUGE sigh of relief...

Please, dear colleagues, tell me that not ALL networking is as intimidating as this?! I've regressed back to the sofa, with my Jammy Dodgers and Waggon Wheels this time around! Can you tempt me out of "hiding" with more than a bacon bap?!

Best wishes,


Author Profile Picture

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!