Shrewsbury Network Blog – January 2016

Posted: 10th February 2016

ShrewsIt was great to see so many new and enthusiastic faces at the first Shrewsbury WiRE meeting of 2016 and equally great that by the break, everyone was chatting, looking relaxed and inspired with each other and full of determination for the year ahead… What more could we ask for!

The lovely “Fiona from WiRE” (she hasn’t quite changed her name by deed poll yet!), came to give us a talk about what WiRE has to offer… I probably nodded and interrupted too much but WiRE won me over from the first event I ever went to hence my passion to set up the group.

Fiona spoke honestly and highlighted that it is a very low budget networking group run by two ladies based in Edgmond who both work on a part-time basis. That said, there are still 50 successful groups running around the country all led by volunteers. What is clear is the passion and promotion that exudes from the room at these meetings.

As the website states: WiRE has been offering business support to women in rural business since 1996, when research conducted by senior lecturer Izzy Warren-Smith at Harper Adams University identified a significant number of farm diversifications were established by women. These female entrepreneurs were, however, coming up against a number of barriers, including lack of access to finance, lack of confidence, not being taken seriously, rural isolation, and lack of rural business support, and at the time, there were 5 head offices around the country.

WiRE was able to get lots of funding up until 2008 and thrived but slowly, the cuts took their toll which has led to the current financial situation (or lack of it!). Despite this, WiRE still continues to flourish! Fiona gave, what was for me, the quote of the night:

“If you think being small doesn’t make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito!”

There is periodic funding available for high quality training courses which cover a variety of subjects and I think this level of excellence together with the passion from business owners at every level of their development is what keeps WiRE alive.

There is a #WiREHour on Twitter on a Tuesday evening between 7.00pm to 8.00pm which is a national hour and it’s a great way to promote your product / service and get to meet other members.. Join in and say “Hi #WiREHour” and you’ll be actively networking on Twitter with lots of retweets and interaction guaranteed.

During the break, we sold lots of raffle tickets to raise funds for our charity, the Rural Community Charity. £30 was raised this week alone. There were also donations for the Food Bank and for the charity Smalls for All. Great to give something back.

Sam Warner from Get Your Message Across then took to the “stage” to give her top-tips on public speaking. Her 5 tips to enhance presentations looked at:

  • Use your audience
  • Don’t fear the funny
  • Incorporate music or memes or a dance ensemble
  • Use projections wisely (or not at all)
  • Take the time to brainstorm

Sam’s been helping people with Life Balance Coaching and Soft Skills Training since 2008. She uses her broad knowledge and specialist training to assist those needing a helping hand with communication skills and confidence. She is a trained Professional Speaker and is currently Area 39 Director for Toastmasters International.

Sam then went on to talk about her 7 Top Tips for winning the room over. Although these seemed to be common sense tips, to see her “own the space” and “make herself big” was an art that she has perfected.

She has some great resources and videos on her website which I whole-heartedly recommend you have a look at…

If you would like any further information from Fiona or Sam, their contact details are below.

Blog written by Nikki Ayton

Fiona Davies

Sam Warner