• Dionne

My Favourite Newcastle Business Networking Meetings

If you read my last blog ‘Networking When You’re An Introvert’, you will know that I used to hate business networking when I had my old singing tuition business. I went in thinking that you could generate new business within the first meeting and I also attended mainly ‘open’ networking, which I discovered made me absolutely crap myself with anxiety!

However, when I set up Slater PA Services, I knew that networking would be a great way to get my name out there and it would be aimed at the perfect target audience – business owners! So I did some research into the various networking meetings here in Newcastle and also went in with the mind-set that business networking is more about building relationships over time which in time,will help to grow your client base.

I now love networking and try to attend at least one meeting a week.

If you’re setting up a new business or you’re already established but want to add networking to your schedule as a way of making new contacts, I wanted to share with you my favourite meetings in Newcastle:

Empowering Women Healthy Brunch

“This is a warm friendly networking group where you get a chance to know each other, have loads of FUN and pass business.”

This meeting runs each month in Newcastle at the Slug and Lettuce and is for women only. The structure of these meetings is very relaxed and a lot more informal than other meetings. It’s basically a fun brunch with other female business owners which to be honest, if you work from home alone all day, it’s just the sort of thing you need in your life!

The structure of this meeting is to share good news, ideas and of course business but the main thing I took away from this was meeting other awesome business-owner ladies, and a great positive vibe that helps to set you up for the rest of the week.

The host and organiser, Claire Lou Robinson is an NLP coach and all round ray of sunshine that reminds us that even though life can and does throw a lot of shit at you, it’s up to ushow we deal with it.

Due to other commitments over the last couple of months, I have only attended one meeting (June) so far but look forward to attending more!

Tickets for these meetings cost a total of £11.25 via Eventbrite and include a lovely brunch of smashed avocado, sundried tomatoes, poached egg on ciabatta toast with herbal tea and pomegranate drinks. Perfect start to the day.

AWE Networking

“Do you run your own business?

Do you work in lead generation, sales?

Would you like new contacts to generate more business?”

AWE does a mix of women only and mixed-sex meetings. I have been to three of these meetings in total so far (one on South Shields and the other two in Jesmond) and all of them have been the mixed-sex meetings but they are predominately women.

The structure of these meetings are similar to other networking meetings but there is no strict 60 second max presentation (this may of course change if the groups get bigger) which is nice as you don’t have to worry about getting all flustered at the thought of cramming your entire introduction into one minute before hearing the timer alarm go off.

Rebecca Swales heads the Newcastle meeting and is super lovely and will make you feel right at ease if you’re a newcomer.

You can join AWE as a member (and certain meetings are members only) or you can simply PAYG. The cost of the lunchtime Jesmond meeting is £15 and includes lunch and a drink which is great value.

CHOICE Networking

“The 'no obligation network' that looks after you and your small business.”

I have been to two of these meetings now and have loved them both. There is a great vibe here and around 15 people have attended both times.

As much as I love women-only meetings, a lot of my business does come from men and so I need to make sure that if I’m going to make networking worth my time, I need to attend mixed groups as well.

There are no monthly fees here, it’s purely PAYG per meeting (£15) and includes breakfast which is fantastic value. My main concern with this was that numbers and members may vary greatly at each meeting but it hasn’t been the case so far. I’ve spoken to quite a few regular attendees and they are all very positive about CHOICE.

My favourite bit about CHOICE are the 3x 10-min 121s you get near the end of each meeting which is a great opportunity to chat with people you are interested in finding out more about, without having to try and arrange a coffee in your own time (which can be tricky for both parties!). I feel that this is a great way to build relationships within the meetings themselves and potentially gain new clients.

Inspire Network

“A global supportive business network for women at every stage of business”

The Inspire Network has a big following on their main Facebook group of around 11,000 people. They have regular meetings in various venues in Newcastle with different agendas which is a great way of gaining more knowledge about various topics as well as obviously….well, networking.

I’ve been to a couple of these meetings with my favourite being centred around Social Media. It was hosted by Amanda Dixon, a social media trainer who knows her shit, and I learnt quite a few new handy tips from her with regards to things such as the recent infamous Facebook algorithm changes and how to make them work better for your business.

My only gripe with Inspire is that the network is run by various people in different chapters and the meetings don’t get updated onto the main website, which means I’ve missed a few meetings that I would have loved to attend. Instead, they get updated onto the various Facebook groups (Inspire Ponteland, Inspire Newcastle west etc) which I sometimes forget to keep tabs on as I am sure other people do too. Or maybe it’s just me?! ….

Prices for Inspire meetings vary but they are usually between £5-15.

Please let me know if you're local to Newcastle and can recommend any other awesome networking meetings!



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