Yes, when you are at the stuffy, run of the mill networking events it is horribly awkward, especially when you find yourself in a hover situation, where people know you are there, yet don’t acknowledge you until they finish their conversation and then you get to butt in and pitch why you were hovering.
However, less traditional events such as Freshwalks have been a huge success because they break the tradition, and FoodnFilm fits nicely into this mould. People come together for a relaxed evening in a cool environment; Manchester’s own Hard Rock Café, for some awesome food and even better conversation. Everyone there also has a common purpose in the film, an immediate talking point to get the conversation going before the natural “what do you do?” question enters the fold.
After a hugely successful inaugural event with Lego Batman, (possibly the two best words in the English language to be thrown together (after Manchester United of course)) the event returned for a double header of Logan; the Wolverine finale, and Best; the biopic of Manchester United legend George Best.
I opted for the latter, and as a film, firstly I think they got the title wrong. It should have been called Alcoholic and come with the pre-cursor ‘Warning! Occasional football’. Knowing how little footage there is of George Best, for them to not include some of his most iconic moments and goals was disappointing, and the very fact that they had no interviews or comments from Sir Bobby Charlton or Denis Law, speaks volumes.
However, despite my issues with the Best film, that did not detract from what was a fantastic event. I met with familiar faces, some of whom I’d met for the first time at the previous event, some I’ve had dialogue with on Twitter but never in person, and then new faces as well.
The real benefit of such events is the surprise element of who is in the room and where you add value to each other. My business, my2be is an online mentoring platform, and our mission is to help people understand career paths and to gain the advice and guidance they need from those with the experience. A large focus of this is naturally on younger people, given they have the least knowledge on the steps to take. At FoodnFilm, I met Leanne Instrall, and Kim Emson and in one conversation brought my2be to life. I was able to offer Kim advice on her first hire and particularly with students and Kim may now produce a blog piece on my2be and myself. Leanne mentioned how she fails to help her younger sister because she doesn’t have the knowledge in the particular area she is interested in, again an area I can help direct her. I also had another conversation with one of the Reds In Business attending that could lead to an introduction regarding potential future investment.
None of these conversations were forced, and most started with the obvious subject matters, the Food, and the Film. A great all round event, that I will certainly attend in the future.
You can connect with Adam on twitter via @AdamMitcheson or on LinkedIN