A Really Tenuous Fairground Analogy: Why Networking is Like a Ride on the Bumper Cars

Like being denied an ice cream from the van 'because there's choc ices in the freezer', or opening your lunch box to reveal, not a deliciously moreish Penguin biscuit, but a piece of soggy fruit,  there are few things less soul destroying as a kid than the two words my fingers are about to type: 'NO BUMPING!'.

Picture the scene for a second: you've queued up for what feels like an eternity at the fairground. You've selected your bumper car - a fine sparkly number in the colour red - and you've had a sly look round to ascertain where your mates are. The whistle is blown and you're off! And in a bid to wipe the cheeky little smile off your pal's face, you've delivered a stomach-churning bump of epic proportions.

Just like that, though, the fun is brought to a miserable halt. A wooden board featuring nine measly characters is held up, along with an accompanying shriek from the red-faced ride attendant. You swiftly realise that you're not on the bumper cars, like you first thought, but the dodgems.

dodgems vs bumper cars

My point? As a kid, you no doubt relished the chance to get stuck in, bumping into all and sundry and having a right good time at it. No one liked dodgems, spoiling all the fun...

I reckon, when it comes to networking events (and here comes the tenuous analogy. I made a quip about no one liking dodgems the other week and my boss challenged me to make a blog out of it) you've really got to embrace your inner bumper car. You get nowhere from being (the proverbial) dodgem. Everyone knows that.

For months - years even - I've put off getting along to a local networking event as I 'just didn't think it'd be for me'. I was wrong. Sure, the work didn't come rolling in after my very first session. But I made some new pals, met a lady from a local salon who sent me some high end hair products to review on my beauty blog, and picked up a couple of new work leads. And I got to enjoy coffee and cake, too - result!

Had I chose to be a 'dodgem', as usual, I'd have probably stayed at home, popped on the telly and had a little moan about my lack of work. Give it a go, too. And next time you're at the fair, stride past the sign for the dodgems. They're not nearly as fun as the real thing. And sitting watching Gogglebox isn't nearly as entertaining as interacting with actual people.

Right, I'm off to get an ice cream cone from the van, and swap tomorrow's soggy office lunch 'treat' for a Penguin.

Until next time....