Without wishing to name drop, ahem, last week I was lucky enough to meet Prince Charles when he visited the St Bride Foundation.
I say meet, to be honest it was more of a case waiting with around 20 other guests while HRH was given a guided tour of the foundation’s facilities and then, when the moment arrived, being ushered into a room where we were asked to stand in pre-determined groups, with a tea or coffee in hand casually chatting to each other.
All while fighting the urge, following the advice from the Prince’s entourage, not to line up ‘Royal Variety Performance’ style as the future King approached.
So far, so staged.
But what followed was an absolute masterclass in working a room. He spoke to everyone, seemed genuinely interested in what people were saying and even seemed slightly disappointed when he was guided away to talk to the next group that just ‘happened’ to be chatting nearby.
Okay, so when it comes schmoozing, there probably aren’t many people on the planet with more experience than HRH. Apart from his mum. But it got me thinking about the art of networking.
A bit like public speaking, some people are complete naturals, others work hard to make a decent fist of it, and then, of course, some avoid it like the plague – preferring perhaps to stand in the corner checking ‘important’ emails on their phones and praying that one of the two former types will take pity on them.
But love it or loathe it, effective networking is a critical business skill, just ask the subject of this week’s interview, Nick Dixon.
So next time you see a master in action, observe, learn and whatever you do resist the urge to take out your phone and email someone about them.