Summer Networking training – a review

In July, we held a networking training event in conjunction with 01zero-one in Soho. After the training, we were joined by Tania Harrison, Creative Director of Latitude Festival. Members can listen back to what Tania had to share with us here.

Cheeka Eyers, who co-produces and does interviews for our fabulous podcast, attended the training session on networking. She shares her thoughts on what she learned.

The latest Sound Women training group covered the skill we all need but dread…networking.

The workshop was led by Sue Ahern, co-funder and training director of Creative People. Sue began by telling us how she began her career by asking a BBC Radio Nottingham presenter if she could “pop in sometimes” and how she well and truly wedged her foot in the door by making herself indispensable when there. Her radio career moved from Nottingham to Leicester and despite really wanting to live in London, Sue stuck it out in the midlands until she was offered her first job in TV. From here she moved to gain the prestigious title of ‘token woman’ working in TV training for the BBC. Finally in 1995, Sue co-founded her business. Impressed? We were too.

The vital tips about getting jobs and working in the media that Sue passed on to us were:

  • The only control you have in an interview is making a good impression
  • Widen your horizons, don’t be linear in your aspirations
  • Be persistent, nothing happens first time round
  • Be prepared to make so much tea

We played a game of networking bingo which involved a lot of clambering over chairs and shouting across the room trying to find someone that had ‘never smoked a cigarette’ or was ‘born in May’ (the things we’ll do for a bottle of sparkling wine). Finally, we had a go at writing an elevator pitch about ourselves; how you’d introduce yourself when networking. Sue told us to break the stereotype of women being modest, keep it short, don’t be afraid of saying ‘freelance’ and just be a bit proud of what you do.

Our new skills were then put to the test when more members of Sound Women arrived and we discovered how much easier wine makes networking. Finally, Tanya Harrison, Head of Arts and Comedy at Festival Republic told us about her incredible career. She explained how important making and maintaining relations has been in her role as Arts Curator at Latitude Festival. What stood out for me was when she said it takes about 6 years to forge strong enough relations with someone to being able to book them! We were told that it’s not the sort of job you can put down at 5pm and forget about, Tanya is so emotionally involved in her work. It was touching and inspiring to hear how much she cares about what she does. Excitingly, she also revealed that she’s working on the line up at next year’s Reading and Leeds festival.

It was a great evening as networking is such an important skill in the radio industry, however until now, no one has really explained how to go about doing it. Thanks Sound Women!

Cheeka Eyers is a producer at the production company and she does interviews for and produces the Sound Women podcast. She also can be heard doing a regular Formula 1 roundup for the Sports Team on East London Radio.