- RSA Watch Oxford – Changing Society (30 October 2017)
- Monday 4th December 2017 – The 117th Informal Drink in Oxford
- Monday 6th November 2017 – The 116th Informal Drink in Oxford
Back in early 2008, I was beginning to feel that I wanted to build up more of a professional network in the Oxford area. I had attended a lot of the existing groups – and Oxfordshire is very well supplied with these – but they all seemed very similar. Typically, 20-30 people met for a ‘breakfast’, often at a ludicrous time (one even began at 7:30am) when most were still half-asleep, and listened to a speaker (some of whom were well known circuit speakers and others were definitely not), swapped business cards with a couple of people and then schlepped off to their respective offices. I did try a few other options, but they tended to be populated by people who were former-business-types (predominantly male) and so of limited potential to me.
At the same time, I was feeling I’d like to have the occasional drink in a pub – a bit of quiet time when I could recharge, chat to a few similar folks, and so on.
So, I decided to combine the two – by putting a date in my diary every month where I would be at a particular pub, would arrive at 6:30pm with a book, and if anyone cared to join me that would be great, but if they didn’t I’d have a couple of drinks, enjoy the read, and toddle off home again.
I’ve a bit of a reputation as a networker, so I already had a list of maybe 80 or so people in the area who I thought I’d share the idea with. I was also the leader of the Oxfordshire group on ecademy which added another 100 or so.
And so the idea was born. The first drink was in February 2008 and we’ve not missed a month since. Each month, there are between 8 and 20 people who gather at the Victoria Arms in Old Marston (venue of several Morse episodes and, perhaps more significantly, where Cromwell rested a few years earlier before finally entering Oxford to take over Parliament) at about 6:30pm until, at the very least, 8:00pm.
We chat – swapping stories, experiences, ideas. We know that quite a lot of business has exchanged hands in that time and quite a few people have a lot to thank the group for.
So, that’s the idea. Anyone is welcome – no booking is needed – though, if it’s your first time especially, if you let me know I will keep my eyes peeled for you. There’s no fee, no structure, no thinly disguised (or otherwise) sales pitch. This is an opportunity for you to get to know some more people, for them to get to know you, for you and them to begin to like one another and eventually to trust each other.
I try to remember to bring a subtle sign with me for the table, however, 9 times out of ten, we are to be found around the table to the right of the door as you enter the pub.
If you want to let me know you’re coming – just give me a call on 07785 222380.
WOULD YOU LIKE A GENTLE REMINDER?