Sabrina’s experience in attending FSB networking meetings
Curious to get inside the mind of an intern? Well it’s your lucky day because Sayers Solution’s current intern- Sabrina, will aim to divulge some of her thoughts surrounding FSB, alongside her experience of attending her first ever networking event.
“Hi reader! Sabrina here. Today marks the end of my 6th week interning for Merewyn at Sayers Solutions. What a blast I’ve had! When I initially applied for this internship, I thought I’d be locked up in my house, typing away at my laptop the whole day. I never thought that I would get so many opportunities to be part of something bigger. I remember my first week, Merewyn told me about the FSB and how she’s one of the area leads for West Yorkshire.
What is the FSB?
The FSB is an organisation representing and supporting small & medium sized businesses across the UK. They campaign and lobby the government to consider the impact of their decisions on small businesses in addition to offering the members the opportunity to come together to network.
The 60 seconds
Initially, I had never heard about the FSB before, but I soon came to realise that it’s a community made up of amazing small business owners and self-employed individuals, who are nothing short of inspiring. She suggested I prepare an introduction of myself which should last around 60 seconds. This is part of a mandatory tradition aimed at helping those who take part of the meeting to get to know each other’s businesses & connect. I thought…60 seconds sounds like nothing! That was until I remembered how long 60 seconds feels like when I’m planking.
Being part of the drama society back in university has prepared me for this moment. I had done countless of introductions already, meaning that naturally I shouldn’t have the slightest problem in being nervous or choking on my words.
The black sheep
The meeting began and I was surprised at how many people had joined. As a person who had no knowledge of this kind of community existing before, I had to admit- I felt a slight wave of FOMO creeping up on me. Most of the participants were clearly experts at this sort of thing, many of them came prepared by having custom made Zoom backgrounds, highlighting their business and the services they offer. I thought about how my Zoom background would look like if I were to make one. Although, having the words “self proclaimed coffee addict and unproblematic Carrie Bradshaw” would probably be slightly unprofessional and wouldn’t add to my credibility of a clearly accomplished 22 year old.
I learnt that every week, the order of the 60 second introductions altered. That week, members had to go in the alphabetical order of their first names; the following week being their surnames. Luckily the letter S seems like an eternity away, and hearing other people go first definitely eased my nerves. Remember when I said that I wouldn’t be nervous? Well that quickly changed. Hearing so many professionals introduce their businesses soon gave me a reality check. I had thought to myself “I’m definitely the black sheep here”.
My turn came up, and before I knew it, it was over. I managed to talk about my most recent achievement- finishing university with a first class degree (an accomplishment I’ll be able to take advantage of when talking about myself for the next 2-3 years, at least). I also talked about my side-hustle of creating content for some clothing and beauty companies. This was good, it showed I was one of the people. To conclude, I didn’t choke & some people even greeted me and wished me luck for the future in the chat box.
Feeling at ease
For the rest of the meeting we were all split up into breakout rooms, which were intended for getting to know each other a little more in depth. This again, made me a little nervous. Entering the breakout room I straightaway realised that Merewyn was not part of it, meaning that I was left defenceless. That all changed & my nerves scurried away fairly quickly once people began asking me questions and including me in their conversations, making me feel accepted and valued.
It’s safe to say that preparing for the next FSB meeting no longer felt scary, and I found myself looking forward to it. After a couple of weeks of attending, Merewyn suggested I could host a little game as part of my 60 seconds. It involved asking the FSB members in participating by using the chat box. This is something I was frightened of doing, thinking that no one would participate and I would be left hanging in the air like the last leaf on a tree. Again, I was proved wrong & I was soon notified with people’s messages in the chat box. The game turned out to be a success & also helped me in gathering information for another project.
Being in the last couple of weeks of my internship with M, I will say that I have grown quite fond of the FSB. I will miss attending the weekly meetings and having a giggle whilst drinking my coffee. It is good knowing that these networking meetings are open for non-members, such as myself, therefore I might find myself attending after I’m finished with my internship. Or maybe in the future when I will be a business owner!”
To learn more about Sabrina you can check out our blog post here
To sign up for West Yorkshire’s virtual networking event hosted by Merewyn & Barney Mynott every Tuesdays at 10:00 click here
As always, you can get in touch with Merewyn if you want to find out more about Sayers Solutions and what we can do for you.