During several days this week, I’ve had to spend quite a few long hours in the company of 7,000 or so good citizens at a property investment forum in London. You see; I have to talk with people to tease out opportunities for our company, and many of these were assembled under the same roof. So I was there.
I’ve always been an inveterate networker – even won a prize for it once; you've got to like people from the start. But the buzz of talking with anyone, keeping it nice, looking for clues, laughing a bit, is still a happy occupation which demands one result – a potential opportunity to earn a crust. Sometimes I even start networking to myself (“Hi Scrobs…Oh, Hi there Scrobs!…How are things?…Oh pretty good thanks…How are you keeping now…Why are we talking like this; we are me aren’t we…)! Surreal eh?
Some conversations on public services stands are stilted, the other chap or girl is sometimes shy, possibly well qualified but unsure, or maybe just bored. On the other hand, there will always be the bright spark who livens up the moment, and appreciates that the reason for being there is that at some stage, we may do some work and get paid. I enjoy those chats, and when eventually the magic business opportunity is realised, I can hear the triumphant love theme from ‘Back to the future’, echoing down the spine…
These stands contrast with – say - one full of commercial agents or lawyers, where there will be quite a lot of finger-flicking and plenty of ‘OK yah, for sure’ attitude, but as my business partner often says, there are many people out there who know a hundred ways of having sex, but don’t know any women!
I always avoid the speeches, as I don’t need to listen to politicians who understand very little about anything except spending other people’s money, and this year I made a point of being as far away as possible from the droning, and used the time to work. When I mentioned to one (public service) lady who was chained to her desk, that I wanted to drown out Yvette Cooper, I could see her eyes glaze over with fear of Stalinist retribution for talking while the ‘leaders’ pronounced…! Rude man…me?
So, I’ve got stupidly lost on the tube twice, walked several times round the hall (and it’s big; really big…), collected a fistful of business cards which all require following up, arranged several days of new meetings, met some stunningly attractive ladies who make me feel eight feet tall, discussed about a hundred schemes, of which I can only work on sixteen, and been tempted (several times an hour), by the inevitable nemesis to good behaviour; the champagne pop…! Many times. Many, many times..
I’ve fallen off a stool (got my leg tangled like Inspector Clouseau in ‘The Pink Panther’), answered the phone in the gents – yes exactly then, lost several cloakroom tickets, been spun round like a top by a gorgeous lady who was helping me take off my coat while I was gabbling on the phone, listened with interest to a man yelling ‘F***’ when he went to sleep on the train and missed his station, tripped over every single step which manufacturers cleverly build into stands for that purpose, eaten something beige, and hopefully won a bicycle!
But the best phone call however, was to Younger Daught, so we could meet up and go home together on the train. That’s more important.