April 2018: Awkward Networking, Time Management and Mediterranean Lifestyle.


Awkward Networking


As an entrepreneur, you’re always learning. And one of the most beneficial skills that you can add to your toolkit is the ability to network.

Networking will help you market your business, raise your profile and build relationships within entrepreneurial communities. If you build trust within networking circles and nail your 1-min pitch, your business will benefit in more ways that you can possibly imagine.

I recently told my LinkedIn network that walking into a room full of strangers makes me cringe and asked them for their top tips to deal with this situation. This question caused quite a reaction! I’ve received over 70 comments on my post and I could not believe how helpful and generous my network has been in terms of sharing tips, tools and strategies to overcome the awkward moment of having to walk up to people I don’t know and start a conversation.

 
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My favourite advice comes from Philippa Constable who is in fact a networking expert and a founder of a networking organisation called Women Mean Biz. Here is what she said:

You will not believe how common this is. Apart from standing up in front of a room full of people, the 2nd most common fear with networking is walking into a room of strangers and approaching people. I think the best advice I can give you is to appreciate that many others feel this way too, and we are all there for the same reason, to make connections and build relationships. I do breathing exercises (I know … and I run a network!!) — take a big deep breath and ask my top 5 questions which gives me confidence. Focus your mind on how you can help others in the room to deflect your nerves — it makes it much easier if you are thinking “How can I help you?” — and then why would they not want to talk to you! Hope this helps and looking forward to chatting with you next week.
— Philippa Constable, Women Mean Biz

The reason why I like Philippa’s advice is because she flips the situation on its head to come from a place of service. #1 reason why people avoid networking is because they don’t want to be sold to. If only everyone took Philippa’s advice to heart, networking clubs could become a really fun and helpful place to hang out!

My second favourite advice comes from another networking queen Sarah Cook of Come Network With Me. Here is what she says:

My strategy is to firstly do my research on the occasion and determine that it is right for me. Then do some practical stuff — parking, venue, number of guests, format etc. If possible find out what other businesses are attending and get connecting with them prior to the day. Practise my 1 minute pitch if it’s part of the event. Relax. Enjoy!
— Sarah Cook, come Network with Me

I really love how organised and strategic Sarah’s approach to networking is. Sarah utilises social media to get ahead of the game and enters networking situation having made friends already. Great approach!

My third favourite was the advice and video I’ve received from William Laitinen. Here is what he said:

Hi Lidia — I use the micro-courage technique. I’ve done a video on LinkedIn about this. In essence what you’re experiencing is fear of an awkward conversation. And by having small safe awkward conversation in the lead up to the event, you develop the ability to put those conversations in their proper context. Fear levels will significantly reduce and networking will be much easier. Good luck.
— William Laitinen, Founder of Exige Digital

I had a great laugh watching this video of William explaining how he has used this technique and how people reacted to it.

Number four on my list of favourites comes from Hannah Booth who says:

Depends on the sort of event. Some are smaller, with the same attendees every time. For those, my strategy is just to learn everyone’s names, what their business does and a bit about them, to start with. Then, after that, to try and bring referrals for them. For the other sort of events, larger and different people each time, my strategy is quite modest: try to meet ten new people to connect with and hopefully get to know in the future. I still haven’t quite mastered ‘working the room’, but I keep practicing; trying to learn from the people I think network well, from the people who made a good impression on me. Good question to post — I suspect more people feel awkward at networking than are willing to let on that they do.
— Hannah Booth, Marketing Manager at Serveline IT

I really love this! Hannah’s approach is all about giving, showing support and genuinely making friends with people in the room. Truly admirable approach!

And last but not least number five Jill Chitty who have sent me to her LinkedIn pulse post on: Why I hate networking and other winning strategies

One young lady walked the room delivering her business cards to everyone, table by table! She wasn’t just giving her card to everyone but was demanding a card from them upon receipt of hers. When she came to me I politely declined with a ‘No thanks’ which was met by several smiles around the room.
— Jill Chitty, Linkedin Expert

This one was my favourite ‘not to do at a networking event’ ;)

If you would like to read all of the advice I’ve received, here is the link.

 

Time Management


April was cut short for me this year as I’ve spent half of it in Cyprus (more on that later). The two weeks that I was here after returning to the UK were pretty intense as all the meetings and projects piled up. In the first week alone, I’ve delivered 21 in person, Skype, or telephone appointments and the diary craziness continued until the end of the month.

This highly intense period of appointments made me rethink my diary and project management approach. I used to just go with the flow and book appointments and projects as they came along and fit my life and travels in between my work life, but I’ve now realised that I have to put some boundaries in place and pace myself during my working time as going like this is not sustainable in the long run. So I’ve revamped my schedule and project management rulebook and going forward I’ll do the following:

  • Only book one photo-shoot per week and maximum of three per month.
  • Block dedicated time slots each week for business and team development.
  • No appointments on Mon AM and Fri PM to catch-up and plan ahead.
  • Have at least one day a week with no meetings to allow for project work.
  • Book a maximum of two meetings per day to allow for admin in between.

So this is how my dream schedule looks like. In reality, I would be happy to be able to implement it 80% of the time — it’s just how it is in the business when you’re trying to grow in every direction.

My diary for next month is still looking pretty full but I think I’ll be able to implement the changes from June onwards.

In the meantime, I’ve researched time management techniques that I aim to use in the future to get the most of my working week:

 

Our Clients


This month, we’ve worked with some awesome clients and I could not be happier with the actions they are taking to move their business forward!

  • Our client Nadine just finished our Brand Design and Photos Package and will soon be launching her awesome new business as a healer and coach.
 
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  • Our client Ismene just started our all-in Brand, Photos and Squarespace Web Design process. During our Brand Clarity consultation, we’ve defined her brand foundation and designed a full new service range so that she can let go of her old business, reposition her brand and re-launch in a new category (more on this project next month).
     
  • Our clients HMO Heaven just launched their new beautiful website. They came to us asking to create a website that would reflect their personality — let us know what you think!
 
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  • Our new client Victoria is just starting a new business as a healer. She’s booked our all-in Brand, Photos and Squarespace Web Design process and we’ve helped her to get clear on her ideal clients, brand identity (the narrative that surrounds her brand) and designed her service range. We’re now helping her to plan for her brand photos and a website to follow.
     
  • We’re currently working on this super stylish Squarespace website redesign for a dressage rider. I really cannot wait to reveal this one, it’s so beautiful! Launching soon!
     
 
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  • We’re currently working with a really cool new-age recruitment consultancy called .Works
    .Works uses artificial intelligence algorithm to match candidates with their perfect jobs, and employees with the right people for the job. Being a forward-thinking company, .Works didn’t want to look like a traditional recruitment company. Instead, they asked us to make their brand resemble a tech start-up. Visuable team came up with a colour palette and brand concept that is contemporary, minimalistic and edgy. We used shapes from real-results data that candidates receive after taking their AI test to create the logo and on-brand experience within their new website. We stripped the text and design to an absolute minimum and we let the brand concept to do all the talking.
     
 
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Mediterranean Lifestyle


As some of your know, I am living a partially Mediterranean life. Each quarter, I spend 3–4 weeks in the Sunny Cyprus whilst running my business remotely. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been working very hard on building a team around me that would allow me to make it happen. In December 2017 the Mediterranean dream has finally become a reality.

Mediterranean lifestyle is all about family, food and life.

  • Family — Cypriots love their family gatherings. Especially the Easter time is spent going from house to house visiting family members, having garden parties, eating and having conversations (usually in Greek).
     
 
Lidia Drzewiecka, founder of Visuable
 

 

  • Food — the mediterranean diet is known across the world for being healthy, tasty and all-round amazing. Honestly, the food in Cyprus is sooo good that you could spend 2 weeks non-stop doing just that — eating.
     
 
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  • Life — life for Cypriots means sitting in the garden enjoying their morning cafe frappe and home made spinach pie (SPANAKOPITA). Going for a run in sun filled neighbourhood. Going for a dinner with friends enjoying fresh, tasty, flavoursome meals. Drinking wine from the local winery. Going to the beach and enjoying cold halloumi and watermelon salad. Just driving around and enjoying the beautiful surroundings. It’s the simple things in life that matter.

 


For me Mediterranean life is also about balance. What I really love about my time in Cyprus is that I can get up in the morning, go for a run, do my exercise routine in the garden or go horseriding, have my coffee and then resume working.

 

 

🐎🐎🐎

A post shared by li_dia (@li_dia) on

 


Few facts about Cyprus:

  • 300 days of sunshine per year!!!
  • Second best climate in the world.
  • Beach and Mountains within 30min drive.
  • Lowest crime rate in the world.
  • 12.5% corporation Tax.
  • A growing business hub.
  • Greek, English, and Turkish are the three main languages.
  • Culture, History, Archeology, Theatre, Arts, Museums, Outdoor Sports.

Check out some videos below and come and visit me in Cyprus!
 

 
 
 
 
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About Lidia

Lidia is a passionate, inspirational and transformational Creative Director. Her clients rave about her ability to extract a clear vision, turn that vision into a reality and create an online identity that they are proud to show off.

From an extensive career in marketing, photography and web design to a successful business owner, Lidia is synonymous with innovative, insightful, high-quality work.

Lidia created Visuable in early 2015 and has worked with 100+ brands, transforming their visual identities in a way that has not only lead to business growth but also inspired personal and business confidence.