We loved hosting MELISSA HEMSLEY at Step Up School on Tuesday morning. She was bright, engaging, full of brilliant advice and absolutely fascinated by everyone else in the room. She couldn’t believe that our Students had only met six times; so much chat going on in the coffee break! ‘Those women all have each others’ backs already’. And she’s right. They’ve connected themselves into an awesome Step Up School network.
Here are Melissa’s Top Tips for boosting your NETWORK too.
You know the situation, you are at one of those painful work networking events and the chat has run dry. What do you know? Well, as Mel says, make a polite excuse and a swift departure. She’s always hot and sweaty (her words, not ours!) and often uses this as a lighthearted reason to go and get water. Otherwise, she suggests moving on together; go and find another couple of new faces and make a bigger circle of chat. Whatever you do, don’t feel you need to be stuck talking to one person all evening. Just be open, honest and polite and crucially, read the situation. Often you’ll be doing them a favour be initiating an exit. Mel attacks work events with a Whip In, Whip Out mindset. Short and sharp bursts of chat and then home to some soup!
You know when you get the sense that someone doesn’t want to talk to you? The glazed look in their eye; constant glances over your shoulder towards the door/bar. Yeah, well don’t take it personally. In those type of situations, Mel thinks that maybe, just maybe that person just has diarrhoea. ‘Someone always has diarrhoea!’ So cut the desperate to exit (desperate to go to the toilet) person a bit of slack. And if they do just want to leave your conversation that’s fine too; we can’t be friends – or connected – with everyone. Move on.
This is one of our favourite pieces of CONNECTING advice, and Mel talked about it too. Always go into conversations with a PURPOSE. Maybe that purpose is telling someone about your new venture/business, or it could be about a job opening they could help you with? It might just be about connecting with them so that you can ultimately piggy back their amazing network. There is no shame in this by the way. Interconnected networks are the dream. Anyway, don’t go in blind – whether that’s with an email or in person – take a moment to think about what you want to say. And get to the point succinctly.
The easiest way to build your networks and keep your connections warm (and happy!) is to connect your contacts with other warm, happy people. Person X works in landscape gardening. Person Y has just launched an eco floristry business. Boom, X must meet Y, and YOU are going to be the person to do it. They’ll both love you for connecting the dots, and all you have to do is a quick, three-way introduction email. Easy, peasy modern CONNECTING from the comfort of your laptop.
Many of us fear cold calling/chatting with new people/putting ourselves in a room of work types that we don’t know. But what’s the worst that can happen? Melissa is brilliant at under thinking NETWORKING. When we have nothing to lose, we can approach new connections with positivity and fun. Ok there might be some awkward moments, an unanswered email or two, but as long as you know you’ve been bold and tried, you’re still winning.
As you know, we’re all about supporting the sisterhood, and so as a thank you to Mel, and actually because we genuinely love it too, here’s a little shout out about her fabulous new cookbook EAT HAPPY: 30 Minute Feelgood Food.

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