Articlesof General Interest



 by John Middleton  February 16th 2017

JohnMiddletonIt was great to meet you all tonight and thank you for making me so welcome. Here is a quick summary of the key points we covered:

Networking for me is about “building effective relationships over time for mutual benefit”
BLOK members may have very different objectives for networking but most business ladies are looking to increase their circle of contacts. This can only happen if we go out of our way to speak with new people…. And that is where most of us miss out as we seek instead a familiar face and stick close to those we know. This is a very dangerous situation for an association where the same people meet regularly as it leads to cliques. When new members join and attend their first few meetings, especially if they are a little shy, it will be very difficult for them to integrate and they may as a result just leave. It might help to nominate a couple of members to be “guest hosts” responsible for greeting new members, establishing their objectives, and introducing them to other useful contacts. This will break down barriers.

The reason cliques often develop is that we turn up to networking sessions with no clear plan or strategy. It helps to establish a clear objective and then work on the necessary skills.


  • Business Cards: Must have them in plenty to enable those you meet to follow up with you Name Badge: Keeps your name in clear view, makes it easier for people to approach you
  • Delegate List: Get one in advance, research the delegates, work out a “must meet” list
  • Info Capture: Use a Dictaphone or note pad to capture the key information you uncover
  • Database: Post event, capture all the key points you captured on a database with key word search. Your hard work can then serve you, and others, in the future as well as now.


If we do not know what we are looking for we will never find it. What do we want to achieve from our networking, I

nformation share? Referrals to business opportunities? Benchmarking? Research?

My strategy is to meet as many people as I can to learn about their business and day to day activity. I store all the information I gather to help me, and others, in the future. I am ideally looking for someone who meets, in their day to day activity, those people who are ideal end users of my company products and services. This person is in an ideal position to refer opportunities to me if they come across them. It is likely that I will be meeting similar contacts in my daily activity that can help them meet their objectives. This provides the seed to grow a very effective win / win relationship in the future for both parties.

My objective therefore at any networking opportunity is to look for this person…I know very clearly what I am looking for. What is your version of this?


A technique is vital in order for you to know exactly what you are going to do when you arrive (instead of looking for that friendly face!).
Get the Delegate List in advance and research the companies that interest you on Google. Look the individual delegates up on Linkedin, it’s surprising what information their home page can uncover in advance of you meeting them! – Highlight those you most need to meet (this is your hit list).

On arrival, if you do not know your target individuals just ask someone if they can point them out for you…or even better, take you across and introduce you. If you don’t know anyone just wander up to a cluster of people talking and wait…if they don’t acknowledge your presence just move in a little closer!

As you invade their space eventually you will engage eye contact. Then just smile, apologise for interrupting but explain you don’t know anyone and ask for help…it will always be forthcoming! Once you are with your new contact, introduce yourself and then spend a few minutes learning about their business and their circle of influence (who they meet day to day). You are looking to compare the information you uncover with the needs you have identified as your Strategy. Exchange business cards and make sure you have enough information to follow up later. Don’t spend all your time with one person…keep moving. Make notes of all the key information you collect.

After the event take time to add all the information to a database where it can be recovered when required. This gives you valuable information for the future to help yourself or others who might be looking for a suitable referral.

Finally, the most important thing to do now is follow up with those contacts where you have identified mutual interests or opportunity. Most people, after networking, throw the cards they collected in a drawer and their attention quickly switches to the business of the day. When you follow up, you now stand out…this is the start of a potential win / win relationship.


I hope the above notes serve as a useful summary and I would be delighted to hear any feedback on how you found the evening. Please feel free to let me know the bits you liked and any that you didn’t. Were there any areas you struggle with that I did not touch upon? I will answer any questions you ask if I can!

Please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – 07730-418153

Christmas Parcels for Knaresborough's Elderly

This year, as every year, Knaresborough Lions will be delivering food parcels to the elderly around Knaresborough. BLOK made a whopping £100 at the November Quiz night to donate to this worthwhile charity.
And again they are looking for helpers and we are appealing to our members to get involved. What better way to get into swing of Christmas than to join the Lions and Santa’s Sleigh as it goes around the local estates of Knaresborough?  It is just magical to see the excitement and wonder on the children’s faces as Santa comes to ask them what they are wishing for at Christmas! The money funds food parcels which are delivered to the elderly in the local area who will alone at Christmas.
The Lions go door to door raising funds with Santa on his sleigh with his elf helpers - visiting children all around the town! It's annual tradition and is very popular as you can imagine!
John Moore is the Chairman of the Knaresborough Old Peoples' Welfare Association. It is one of his duties to organise the Christmas Parcels, a job he has done for several years though the parcel delivery has been going since the 1950's.  They endeavour to spend the entire total monies raised each year on that years Parcels (usually at Morrisons) with about 1% spent on leaflets and stamps.
elves 2Last year the BLOK ladies joined in raising funds with sleigh and around St James Retail Park and some ladies may prefer to get involved with the packing of the food parcels
Members would be welcome to join in for a couple of the nights as a larger group or  they may prefer to join in in pairs/threes for more nights.
They normally have about 5 or 6 collectors plus Santa on any one night.   

The first street collection will be on Monday 5th Dec and run through most weekday evenings to Friday 23rd.
Start time will be 6.30 and we usually finish by 8.30
Anyone wishing to join in and help either with being an elf with Santa on the rounds of the town, or at St James's Retail or helping with packing boxes, please get in touch with us - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The rota is viewable below, so please do let us know if you are available for any of the slots.  Each outing lasts for approx. 2 hours.  There is also a parcel packing morning at the church hall is people would prefer to help with that activity.

See the Rota for available slots

Digital Marketing with The Marketing Cookie

September's Workshop was by Amandine Thomas from The Marketing Cookie

cookie logo sq
It was a very informative and interesting talk about how we can help our businesses get found on the digital highway.
Her upcoming workshops are bookable here at The Marketing Cookie
The coupon code for this month's (September) workshops for 15% discount : BACKTOWORK available for every workshop this month.
Amandine also does offer personalised and tailored 1:1 training if anyone requires it. The Charge is £40/h for training and offer a full audit of SEO and/or Social Media depending of what the person wants to focus on.
If you need anything else, please let her know at this email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at The Marketing Cookie
Members may download the notes from the workshop here.

A few of Charlotte's Images

Knaresborough Wind in the Willows 2016

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BLOK are proud and excited to be supporting this unique new event for 2016 in Knaresborough. 

Knaresborough Wind in the Willows 2016 aims to bring a well-loved literary classic to life, whilst connecting audiences to the magic of the River Nidd. The story is timeless – as are its themes of friendship, community and new adventures.

This will be an enchanting and unique storytelling journey, with our beautiful town as its backdrop, in four main performance sites – including

the castle grounds (to meet Toad who is imprisoned there),

a riverside terrace (complete with rowing boats),

along Waterside (watch out for the naughty weasels!) before entering

the Wild Woods on the way to Conyngham Hall (Toad Hall). 

Close your eyes and imagine Mole seeing The River Nidd for the first time....

…Never in his life had he seen a river before – this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a shake and a shiver – glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated…”   (Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame)

Backed by community group Renaissance Knaresborough, and still requiring funding and sponsorship to make it a reality, 'Knaresborough Wind in the Willows 2016 is a volunteer-led site specific theatre project designed to engage audiences in a new and creative way with our town’s stunning castle, Waterside and woodland settings. 

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Using Time Effectively

zw3 1Time is a constant – 60 seconds in every minute, 60 minutes in every hour, 24 hours in every day. We can’t manage time, our most precious resource; we can manage what we do with it.

Technology has both enabled us to advance in our ability to do things productively (compare how fast it is to create, edit and deliver a ‘letter’ compared with 30 years ago). Yet, paradoxically, at the same time it is hindering us. The amount of unsolicited communications we receive each day – calls, texts, emails, social media, etc, amount to serious distractions from the important tasks we have to complete.

In order to get on top of things the trick is to do less rather than more – concentrating on the things that will contribute most to achieving the results that are most important. You might have come across the Pareto effect – the 80-20 rule – 80% of the worth comes from 20% of the activity.
Stephen Covey (in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) uses the analogy of gravel (for the trivial tasks, distractions, interruptions, etc) and Big Rocks (for the activities that will contribute to achieving your objectives). If you Google “Big Rocks, Covey” you will find some You Tube videos of Stephen’s demonstration – if you put the gravel in a container representing your week first, you will find it impossible to fit in all the Big Rocks. Yet if you put in the rocks first and then trickle in the gravel, miraculously you find the trivia fitting around the big tasks and you have an increased ability to fit more in – naturally working smarter and more effectively in the time available.

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Knaresborough Photographer Helps Raise £10,000 for Nepal


BLOK member and professional photographer Charlotte Gale recently helped organise a charity dinner at the Crown Hotel in Harrogate, which raised £10,000 to help rebuild the lives of victims of April’s devastating earthquake in Nepal.

The event was the brainchild of the Crown Hotel and was organised in association with Harrogate Brigantes Rotary Club. It was attended by over 100 corporate and private guests, including guest speaker for the evening charismatic, ex Gurkha, Major Lil Gurung MBE.

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