WARNING: This blog contains no reference to employment law, leadership, culture or anything else like that. So if you don’t want to read a schmaltzy sentimental blog post then look away now.
Three years ago today it was the very first Connecting HR Manchester. Now I don’t usually do networking events. All that walking up to strangers and introducing yourself stuff. I’m no good at it. But Ian Pettigrew tweeted me and said I should come along. And there were all these people from Twitter that were going and I wanted to meet them. So despite all my usual trepidations I braved it, even through the snow on the M62.
I was first to arrive. Just Ian and Dami there waiting for everyone to pitch up. A big hug from Ian. A realisation that you did recognise people from their avatars after all.
And then everything changed.
In one room, in one night, I met some of the people that are now great friends. I met most of those folks that are my PLN. I met Tim, with whom I have now written four books (yes, there is another one coming soon if you are counting). He actually looked nothing like his Twitter avatar though. If I hadn’t tweeted him to ask if he was there we might never have spoken.
This Twitter thing that I love went from virtual to IRL.
There was conversation. A few selfies. And to be honest, some wine.
Then some of us went to a chip shop and entered into a heated discussion about industrial relations in the modern workplace post the significant decline of trade union membership. And yes, we were asked to leave.
When you go to a networking event you hope at best to meet a few interesting people. Maybe get a decent sausage roll. Make a few useful connections. You don’t expect it to change your life.
Connecting HR Manchester led me to work with some amazing people through whom I have learned so much. It led to connections and collaborations that opened new doors for me. But more than anything, it gave me some wonderful new friends.
It is often said that you only regret the things that you don’t do. And I am so glad that I didn’t turn back at the sight of the snow.
So thank you Ian, Ryan and Dami for that first event.
Connecting HR Manchester rocks!
See you at the next one?
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