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Posts tagged ‘Networking’

The power of playfulness

London kids entertainer Diane

Last night I attended my very first networking event that I found through Twitter. It was run by a lovely lady called Bella who runs a company called RareWorld. I recommend her events highly.

As a children’s entertainer who dresses in silly clothes and bright ribbons , it is sometimes hard to be taken seriously as a business woman, even by myself. Sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit. Because I enjoy my work so much and I love getting stuck in with playing along with children at birthday parties and events it is easy for me to forget just how serious the business of entertainment really is.

Imagine a job where you can’t really have any days off sick, if you do you let down your client who happens to be a young child who has been looking forward all year to this very special day. Spoil this child’s day at your peril!(and then try and live down your spoiled reputation)

Imagine a job where you can’t get angry or show that you may be sad ( I’ve had to work when recently bereaved) .

But also imagine a job where you get to wear bright colours and sparkly things, be playful and silly, share in the exuberant joy of children’s laughter and feel like you have actually brought real joy to someone .

Well that is my job. And because of all these things, it is a very serious job despite the very deliberately silly content.

Well back to the networking event. I turned up in my ribbons and in bright colours. I was faced with a sea of black suits . There were around 160 people there, all dressed to kill, all in killer power suits. And then there was me, in my sparkly flip flops with ribbons in my hair. But I sucked it up, told myself I was a grown woman even though I felt like a little girl at a grown up party and headed in the the midst of all those grown-ups.

You have to understand that I work with children because I feel most at ease with children. I’ve never really felt like a proper grown-up. Even at my last birthday when I turned 47 , and I am now indeed a grandma, I still didn’t feel grown-up. I’ve just about started to enjoy Question Time on the telly, that’s about as grown up as I get. But the business woman inside of the silly children’s entertainer pushed to the fore. NETWORK she boomed from within my head. So network I did.

Strangely enough I gravitated towards anyone with a little bit of colour, and they in turn gravitated towards me. The creatives found each other. I spent a bit of time chatting to another Diane and her work colleague Mia from the Brickhouse, a wonderful cabaret club in the heart of Brick Lane.

One very lovely pretty young lady dressed to kill in the most beautiful little black dress ever, spent a long time chatting with me. Her name was Nooshin Bakhshi.  It turns out she was a couture designer ( ah that explains the dress!)and had recently taken the plunge to out into this recession to make her mark on the world. I admire her. She will go far. Then I caught the eye of a young man who seemed to know me. He shouted out my name. Ah, it was Rudolph, we had met via Twitter earlier that day. We had a good chat and he told me he had admired my honesty in my  introductory email that was circulated round to the other attendees. You see, because I’m not a proper grown-up, I tend to just be honest. I don’t understand the masks that a lot of adults wear , I prefer to stay genuine . This is me. With ribbons on and flip flops.Take me or leave me. It appeared that my naive stance seemed to be refreshing to others. I suddenly felt less scared and realised that just because I was different, didn’t mean I was less of a business person.

My differences were my strengths

.* Light bulb moment. *

Let’s brush over the slightly inebriated gentleman who seemed to confuse me with an adult entertainer and was very persistent in his insistence. But a gentleman to the rescue of the silly children’s entertainer came in the form of Tim Sheed who persuaded this night owl to have  a try at breakfast networking. Thanks Tim, I appreciated your support.

As the evening wore on I grew more comfortable in my skin and really got into the swing of networking. But my old feet couldn’t hold me up anymore and reluctantly I left on a high.

So a massive thanks to Bella for showing this silly woman just how serious being silly can be.

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