Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Why The Evaluator loves Networking

The Evaluator started in April 2017, as a business it's just over two years old. It's grown, quite organically, with word of mouth recommendations.

Things changed in December 2018 when Kirsty Rose Parker, our director, went from working part time on this to full time. All of a sudden, she could say yes to events and attend more stuff.

That has made a huge difference. Clients have increased, turnover has increased and more work means more innovation which all the existing clients are benefiting from too. Kirsty puts this all down to networking.

 "Meeting people in person means you can explain what you do much more effectively and people do still buy people" Kirsty says. 

Often, people don't fully understand what an evaluator does and once it's explained most people understand how helpful it can be. After all, which business or charity doesn't want to be as effective as they can be. Knowing what an audience experience is, or which part of the work is most effective can often be the difference between surviving and thriving.

With all that in mind, what are our top tips for networking:

  1. Think about your ideal audience - who are they and where will they be?
  2. Search out free events - good ones for The Evaluator are often ones run by funding bodies like The Arts Council or National Lotttery Fund for Heritage.
  3. Look on eventbrite - you can search for what is happening by area or day and often come across some perfect events. 
  4. Show up on time, with plenty of business cards.
  5. The Evaluator made up a paper portfolio and took this round to show examples of their work - this was a great success as it easily explained the different ways an evaluation can help people. 
  6. Smile and chat to people. It can sometimes feel a bit scary, but usually everyone is feeling much the same. 
  7. Try some formal networking routes - The Evaluator tried out BNI, Shout and Girl Tribe Gang. All of them were well organised and full of interesting people. The Evaluator isn't able to commit the time needed to really do one of these properly at the moment - as they only work if you can attend regularly and spend time getting to know the other people around the table. The Evaluator plans to join one of these formally within the next few months. 
  8. Don't be disheartened if one of the events doesn't work out like you had hoped. In a way you never know who is attending and who might hear of something relevant in the future. 
  9. Just enjoy meeting new people.

Networking is now an embedded part of The Evaluator's business, with months allocated during the year to dedicate to this - we have chosen January and September for a networking focus and commit to attending one event each month in addition.

Watch out for us popping up at an event near you!