Author: Glenys Chatterley

Having a virtual bubble

Well, it’s all done and dusted and the remains of the turkey, which as always, was of ostrich proportions, is sliced, diced and frozen. Now into the New Year, when my mantra for 2021 will be “Never talk about 2020” I’m going to get my last CoVid-19 comment in.

Every four months I visit all my Groups, have 1-2-1s with Group Directors and, at Christmas, take this as an opportunity to wear one of my elf outfits (FYI I have three). This year the Group meetings were quite emotional, as people said “thank you” to other members, the GDs and, a few times, me. During one meeting a member summed it up by saying that their Group had become their ‘virtual bubble’, providing a safe place with people who would support them, whether with their business or their wobble days when emotionally they were not coping so well.

This member then said something that made my heart glad, and my eyes moist, they said “Glenys you should be very proud of what you have created”, and, you know, when I took time to think about it, I am proud. I’m proud that people have felt able to share their concerns, maintain and grow their businesses, supported each other and are still standing at the end of this year. When I decided that all our meetings would be held under the Chatham House Rule (what is said in the meeting cannot be attributed outside of the meeting) I did it so that people can have a place of safety where they could share their concerns without fear that it was going to appear on the 9 o’clock news.

This has worked and continues to work. Within each Group people have shared and been supported. People have visited and joined because they have seen the worth, experienced the ethos and felt supported. And, since business can be a lonely place, I am proud of what I, my GDs and my members have achieved

When we are in business we worry about all sorts of things—staff, customers, cashflow seems to cover it for me. We celebrate when the business grows, when we get that contract, when our team grows, when we need larger premises, and we agonize when the business shrinks, or we don’t get that contract, when we have to make difficult decisions about our team members, and we realise that maybe we didn’t need such a large office.

Rarely do we take time to feel proud, of what we’ve achieved; the business we’ve developed and nurtured. However we started our business, whether from scratch or buying something that we have then moulded and grown—I’ve done both—it has taken persistence, passion, strength and commitment. So today, as you read this and we head into a brighter 2021, let’s all take a moment to feel proud of what we have achieved.

My New Year gift is some support for your networking in 2021. Go to and download my Top 20 tips.

Have fun, stay safe


I don’t know anyone called anybody or somebody

Last week I met some new members to help them to get the most from their networking and, in particular, from their membership of ebn. One of the things I talk about is helping others to get you business from their contacts. To enable people to do this they need to understand what you do and who would be your best customer. The first part of this I cover in the blog which I mention below, so here I’ll deal with the second part: understanding what your best customer looks like.

We are all busy people, keeping our business working and growing, looking after staff and customers, both existing and potential, planning and implementing marketing, sorting out premises, equipment, insurance… you know what it’s like. Here I’m dealing with marketing. Part of any marketing plan is knowing what your ideal customer looks like, so at ebn we are looking for decision makers. Usually this is a business owner but sometimes it can be an employee with a sphere of influence, think Director in a very large company.

Now, because I am busy working out what my ideal customer looks like I don’t have time to work out what other people’s ideal customer looks like. That is not me being selfish, it’s me being honest. We have to help people to sift through all their contacts, mentally not physically, and find those who, we have said, are ideal customers. How does this work? First and most important: Never ask for anybody or somebody.

Instead, be as specific as you can. So let’s say you are a caterer looking for people who want catering. You do different types of catering so focus on one type of catering at a time, whilst making brief mention of the other types of catering, my blog: explains this in more detail. So let’s say that today the caterer is focussing on the wedding market. They don’t say “Anyone who might need catering”. They say “Do you know anyone who is starting to plan their wedding”. Perhaps narrow that down further by saying “In the Essex area” and because they are fully booked for this year, they may further narrow it down to “and are planning to get married next year”. The caterer might want to have contact with venues who have preferred supplier lists. So they don’t say “Any venues that have preferred supplier lists”. They do the research and find out if a venue has a preferred supplier list, and then say “Do you know the owner of…and name a venue”. This narrows down who they are looking for and enables more people to mentally sift through their contacts and potentially make the introduction.

Help people to help you grow your business.

If you would like more tips on networking go to my top 20 tips.

Have fun

Working outside my comfort zone.

In the last few weeks, I have spent quite a lot of time outside my comfort zone. Why? Because my working life used to be, in the main, quite straightforward. I networked, I worked on strategy, I implemented new processes and systems. Occasionally, I would be outside my comfort zone because I was doing something new, but I like spending a bit of time outside my comfort zone, as long as there is foundation of ‘business as usual’.

But all that changed in March. I, along with most of the population had to:

  • come to terms with meeting people using Zoom and other similar platforms,
  • practice looking at the camera rather than looking at people so you end up looking slightly unfocussed,
  • learn how to deal with the gap between saying I wasleaving a meeting and then actually leaving a meeting having found the right button to click on.

So when that became easier I became a bit more adventurous. I took part in my first podcast[GC1] , I did my first virtual presentation and I chaired my own less formal meetings, rather than other people doing all the techy bits. I started to study some new social media platforms and realised how little of the language used I understood.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like that adrenalin surge you get when you are nervous. But the last few weeks it has felt like I couldn’t see my comfort zone even if I had binoculars! So, two weeks ago I attended my first virtual international conference and used my very rusty German. Last week I chaired my first formal business meeting and was in charge of the system. Scary! And to finish the week I recorded my ‘Business chat’ with a colleague which I then uploaded to my new YouTube channel…did I mention that I also set up a YouTube channel?

I’m sure that these new adventures will become normal so  I’m planning more adventures. I’m organising a virtual Christmas networking event for members and, if successful, I will be arranging some regular afternoon networking events, starting in the new year. I’m also looking at opening Groups outside of our current area. All are making me nervous…but that’s becoming business as usual!

Is networking “outside your comfort zone? Get my top 20 networking tips to


Learning from other people

Last week was a busy one for my brain. I attended 2 training sessions and I had two meetings to discuss new products and services, which will involve using new systems. The bit of my brain that was left started to think about this aspect of networking: knowing people who know stuff.

When I became self-employed, nearly 25 years ago, I quickly realised that I had left behind the support system that comes with working in the corporate world: a secretary who sorted all my admin needs, an IT section so I didn’t have to bother with things that plug in and require passwords, a stationery cupboard that the fairies filled, and a whole team who made sure that I could concentrate on what I was good at—building relationships with customers and potential customers (so some things haven’t changed).

All the above included having projects, usually decided by my boss, that meant I would be given a brief that included a how-to sheet. (Is it just me who wants to call this a brief brief?)  That was it. Now I think of new products and services (woohoo!) and I must find people who know the stuff I will need to know to implement the whole thing. I then need to manage the implementation. This includes a level of understanding. However, since I know these people who know stuff, it doesn’t have to be a deep understanding since I can always ask my supplier for help.

I have suppliers who I have known for forever and I have suppliers I’ve known for months. All of them have the same qualities. They:

  • know their stuff,
  • can solve my problems (not all of them of course just the ones that relate to their specialism!),
  • can explain stuff I need to know and understand in language that I can understand and
  • are people I trust.

So last week I learnt:

  • about making websites effective and uploading videos to YouTube (thanks Mike Hennan),
  • some intricacies of social media marketing (thanks Lesley Morrissey),
  • additional information about how to get the best from Zoom (thank you David Bell).

Self-employment can be a lonely place but we are not alone. We are surrounded by people whose knowledge is different from ours and who are willing and able to help us build our businesses.

What did you learn in the last week? If you want get some information about networking, go to: and download my 20 top tips.

Happy networking.

My problem with business cards?

Do you remember back in the mists of time, pre-March 23rd to be precise? In those wonderful days we met people face to face, we could see all of each other’s faces, the nightmare of coordinating masks and outfits weren’t on the radar and women wore  lipstick when they went out of the house (Wait: OK the last two might just be me, I tried wearing lipstick under my mask and ended up looking like the Joker) Anyway, back to the story, in those halcyon days you met someone, chatted, thought there might be some points of contact and you exchanged cards. (Yes there were some hip-and-happening youngsters—or as I call them—geeks, who had apps on their phones but I’m still old school…and I paid a lot of money for all the business cards I have.)

On 23rd March, the world of business changed in many way.  (Read to see how it affected me personally) but here I want to focus on business cards.

Before March 23rd, and given GDPR, I would get their card connect on Linkedin, send them an email, and ask if I could add them to my list from which they could, of course unsubscribe. (Interestingly, I never had anyone say that I couldn’t). We would then work at building a relationship, perhaps by arranging a 1-2-1. But that whole process started with a business card exchange.

The other thing with business cards was I ALWAYS had them with me when I went out of the house. Why? Because if you are not talking to yourself you are networking. Want proof that this approach works? When I had a catering company, I was once at the checkout of my local supermarket (I’d like to say Waitrose, but it was Tesco) and got talking to the next woman in the queue. She said she was very angry because her caterer had just rung her and cancelled her booking, something about a surprise holiday! I pulled out my business card, we met, and I got a very profitable job. I always took my business cards with me.

After 23rd March I can still connect with people on Linkedin but I don’t have the business card process nailed down, and since I rarely go out, I don’t even know where my business cards are.

As I try to evolve my working practices, I spent some time giving this some thought, and what did I find? The solutions to these business cards issues is simple: 1 I will be asking permission to add my new Linkedin connections to my list and I am digging out my business cards and putting them next to my vast array of various coloured masks.

How can you help? Make sure your contact details are correct and complete on your Linkedin profile. Please.

What are some of the small changes you are making?

Want some networking tips? Go to: and download my top 20 networking tips. You’re welcome.

Have fun


Every day is an interview day

Recently I was at a meeting, virtual of course, and I commented on how great one attendee looked. Actually, I said, “You look smart, are you going for a job interview?” He said, “Every day is an interview day” and everyone smiled. Later I was thinking about his comment.

I know that when I go to any meeting I am representing my company and, more importantly, people I meet must feel able to refer me to their contacts. So I dress as if I am going to be introduced to someone who invites me to address their board in London. I dress smartly, always, and this applies whether I am meeting people face to face or virtually, because… did I mention I am representing my company?

It is tempting to relax when attending a meeting. We’re at home, possibly not long from our beds, and we’ve not had any of that bothersome travel. Coffee from our kitchen, with a bit of  tidying done while we wait for the kettle to boil. But, did I mention that I am representing my company?

So I approach a virtual meeting the same way I do a face to face meeting, because I am being interviewed—interviewed by people who will be judging whether their reputation is going to be harmed by introducing me to their contacts. Therefore I dress  smartly, I comb my hair, I put on my makeup, I prepare myself and behave appropriately during the meeting because every day  is an interview day.

What do you think?

As always if you want 20 free networking hints and tips, go to and download away.

Have fun,


It’s not who you know, it’s who they know

Recently I was talking to a new contact. We had met at a networking event, connected on LinkedIn and he suggested we have a 1-2-1. Lovely, that’s how you build business relationships.

When we started to talk he said that he hardly did any networking because his company was so big that businesspeople he met owned businesses that were too small to pass work to him. I was a bit surprised since he seemed to have misunderstood what networking is all about.

If you read my blog – What is networking all about? ( ) I talk about the advice, information and support that you get from networking. One thing I didn’t mention was the business that happens when you network and this is the part that my new contact seemed not to understand. The amount of business you and I can do may be limited, unless you are a purveyor of fruit scones when I may be a very regular customer. If, however, you are a mortgage advisor I either need a mortgage or I don’t and, if I do, it could be a while before I need one again. However, I may know people who need a mortgage and these are the people you want to be introduced to. You know me and through me you potentially know my contacts.

So, what about my contacts. Well,

  • I am not a man, but I know men,
  • I am not young (Honestly, hard to believe isn’t it?) but I know young people,
  • I am not a tall person, but I know tall people,
  • I am not the owner of a large company, but I know people who own large companies, and
  • I am not a millionaire (yet) but I know a few millionaires.

So my new contact is missing this point.  If we build a strong relationship then you may meet my contacts and you don’t know who I know.

Have fun


What is networking all about?

As we enter our seventh month of not being able to network face-to-face I have started to see many cases of ‘Zoom fatigue’. (Other systems are available and have the same challenge). Often the numbers of people attending have reduced and people have become more comfortable with the system. (Strangely, our Groups reduced and have now started to grow again as parents see their children back at school.)

So, since the government guidelines are not looking like we will be able to come face-to-face again any time soon, I thought it would be helpful to remind myself why I network. I hope this helps you too.

Networking is a huge part of my marketing strategy. It enables me to meet other businesspeople, build strong relationships and from this I gain: advice, information, support and, of course, work. The latter will almost always take a while to happen, so let’s explore the first three things:


No one has experienced the situation we have all faced this year, but what I realised is that many of the challenges some have faced are the challenges that come from owning a business: cashflow, getting work, completing work, getting paid etc.  In addition, there is a whole raft of never-before-experienced challenges:  furloughing staff, preparing for people to work from home, preparing for people to work in the office. However, both these sets of challenges are helped by people offering advice, usually from their own experiences. This happens whether face-to-face across a table or face-to-face across a screen. When networking you meet people you can trust who will offer advice. You then decide whether to take it.


This is, of course, closely linked to advice. The difference is that information usually comes from people’s area of expertise.  For example, you may want to wade through the intricacies of furloughing staff and the HMRC, I do not. I get information from my accountant and sometimes, while networking, I get the latest, ‘hot off the press’ information from an accountant who is attending. (When I finish networking I usually find this information from my accountant in my inbox but that is by the by.)


There are times for many businesspeople when things don’t go well or as planned, don’t get started, or seem never to end. Self-employment in its different disguises can be a lonely place and through networking we can gain contacts who will listen (occasionally) to our rants, our troubles, our whinges. They may offer advice and information but what they really will offer is their attention. Naturally we have to remember that this should not be every day!

These times have been for some, psychologically and practically, difficult times. Members tell me they have really appreciated the support they have received, now more than ever. Because we work using the Chatham House rule they feel able to be completely honest and this has always been helpful.

If you would like to see my blog on networking, here’s the link:

And if you would like my top 20 networking tips, go to: and claim your free download

Have fun.

The 3/3/3 rule

When talking to people about my system of networking I am often asked “How do you manage a room full of people” This can be daunting, even for the most confident or experienced networkers. My advice is: First gather your thoughts and your positive attitude before you walk in, just before you get out of the car is a good time and place, walk in with a smile, don’t overdo it or you’ll look scary, and have a plan. My plan is I follow my 3/3/3 rule:

Category 1. Talk to three people you know really well but don’t stay with them, which is always tempting. Long day, long week, stress at work; you could stay in your comfort zone. Don’t do it. If needs be arrange a 1-2-1 with them and then move on. You might want to ask people you meet the question “Who (what type of company) are you looking for?” If you have already met someone who matches the description, you can make the introduction. If not, look out for them as you continue to network. Also ask people “Is there anyone you have met here that you think I should meet?” if the answer is Yes get them to introduce you.

Category 2. Talk to three people that you may have only met once or twice. This enables you to develop the business relationship further. Arrange a 1-2-1. Call it ‘having a coffee’ if 1-2-1 sound too formal. Stay with them longer than people in category 1 because the relationship is not yet as strong and needs to be developed. Move on, but before you do, go through the part in italics of category 1 above.

Category 3. Talk to three people you have never met before. This can be a bit scary, but you are all there to network and they may be relieved to not have to approach someone they don’t know. If you really can’t do this, talk to the organiser. Make sure they know what you do and ask them to introduce you to someone with whom there might be synergy, so you can work together. Stay even longer with them than either of the people in category 1 or 2 because the business relationship is just starting. But do move on and before you do, go through the part in italics of category 1 above.

Recently I was told my 3/3/3 rule was the thing that had helped the person I was talking to the most. When I told them that this was something I had devised I received profuse thanks and another business relationship was made stronger. When typing that last sentence, I suddenly thought, “Did someone tell it me and I have forgotten?”, so I Googled it (other search engines are available) and came up with stuff about routing cables, so I’m still pretty sure it came from my brain. I am sure people will let me know if I am wrong.

So I offer you my 3/3/3 rule. Once you have met and talked to nine people you can, if you wish go, back to your office…or you could go round again.

If you want more networking tips go to:

Have fun.

Would you do that if we were meeting face to face?

Warning: This may border on the edge of a rant:

I was talking to someone about a meeting they had attended, where he was the presenter. He was very unhappy because, while he was doing his presentation, some people put their contact details in the chat facility. (Yes it was Zoom and yes, other options are available.)

We talked for a while about strange behaviour we had seen in virtual meetings, e.g. people messing around with their backdrops, or taking phone calls. These were certainly unacceptable, but my friend was really annoyed with the people who had been obviously typing rather than listening to his presentation. As he said “ I would never introduce these people to my contacts because they obviously don’t understand what professional looks like”.

So, I started to think about how this behaviour differs from when we attend a face­­-to-face networking event (remember those?) People judge us by our behaviour and, for businesspeople in particular, we need to show ourselves in the best light. This ensures that people feel confident at putting their own reputation on the line by introducing us to their contacts.  Finally, I came up with a simple rule: you shouldn’t do anything at a virtual meeting that you wouldn’t do at a face to face meeting. Simple.

Or is this just me? What do you think?

Want a free gift? Go to and download 20 networking tips. You’re welcome.