Lincolnshire Networking Feedback

Lincolnshire Networking Feedback

                    

A Fabulous Success

I hope you all agree with me that the Twitter based networking session on Monday was a really good event?  I hope you found it useful as an alternative to a face to face meeting and will join in again.  The travel and social distancing restrictions have obviously taken their toll on many events but with safety in mind I think this made a good alternative.  However, as it was my idea I’m sure you’ll forgive me for being a little biased.  That said, I would really like to hear your feedback from Monday please.  Perhaps you would be good enough to leave a comment at the end of this blog for all to see or if you prefer, you can email me at martin@lincsconnect.co.uk

 

What’s Next?

In the past I have organised monthly networking sessions on Friday evenings.  My thinking behind a Friday evening meeting is that many people are glad to finish work on Friday afternoon so a relaxed meeting in the bar at The Petwood Hotel seemed like a good idea.  Unfortunately (due to illness) I stopped the meetings but they never re-started.  Perhaps that is a priority for the future?  In the mean time I’m considering continuing with the Twitter meetings for a while with a view to perhaps moving it onto a different platform in the future to make it more inclusive for those who don’t use twitter.  Again, I would like to know your thoughts on that idea.  Looking to the future, I’ll be organising some ‘NetWalking’ events where, you guessed it, we’ll be networking while walking.  I’ve already organised insurance for that so keep a look out for updates.

When?

I don’t want to fall into the trap of doing a weekly session as that often results in the same group of people talking roughly about the same things each week. As a networking idea I don’t think it’ll be of much value to members.  Perhaps fortnightly or monthly?  What do you think?  Again, I’m open to suggestions.  I am conscious too though that I have to fit this in around my ‘paid work’ when travel restrictions are lifted.  With that in mind, I’m drawn back to a Friday early evening session or perhaps one Friday morning each month. Tuesdays are also an option at the moment too. Any feedback will again be appreciated.

 

What?

As with any other networking group it’s important to keep the meetings fresh and interesting.  Having a guest speaker wouldn’t be practical but having a guest subject might be much more interesting and more beneficial to the group as well.  My idea is for a member to pose some questions and email them to me so that I can organise the meeting around the chosen subject.  Here is an example:  One of my businesses is @MandarinMothers where I provide antenatal and postnatal treatments, exercise programmes and partner focused massage classes.  In that capacity I would email my questions to the organiser (LincsConnect) to be organised into a structured Twitter meeting.  As the therapist I would be able to join in fully with the meeting in the knowledge that the admin is being taken care of by LincsConnect.  Other examples could be @LincsPolice posting information about Lincolnshire Police to let you know how the police can support you and how you can support the police.  They would be free to answer questions while LincsConnect poses the set questions.  It’ll take some thought but at least you have the idea and will be able to consider how you can use the networking to inform people  and hopefully gain some new clients.

Lots To Think About

In summary, I’m considering either a monthly or fortnightly session on Tuesdays or Fridays either in the evening or in the morning. Possibly moving (eventually) to a more inclusive platform and having a guest subject.  Don’t forget that you can leave a comment with the blog and/or email me at martin@lincsconnect.co.uk

Did It Work?

The plan was to ask everyone to sign in then while you were doing that I was sorting you into groups of 4 or 5.  Once in your groups I sent each group some simple instructions on a blackboard.  They included:  In turn, tell the group your name, your company/organisation and your position in the organisation.  Doing it one at a time should have stopped everyone tweeting at the same time and causing confusion.  Oh, and ‘use the #LincsConnect hashtag on every tweet’.  How did it work for you?  If you found it confusing at first, did you soon get the hang of it?

#Hashtag?

Did you all understand the importance of the hashtag?  Without the hashtag on your tweet we can’t look back to see what was said.  Without that information some of your fellow members who might need to check back for future reference won’t be able to find your tweet.  Did you know that al of the tweets with the #hashtag #LincsConnect on are still there and ready to be viewed if you want to?  That means you will be able to look back and see someone who was there on the night who you didn’t get to chat to.

What about the hashtag?  Did you find it useful and useable?  It’s easily recognisable of course but would you prefer a new and dedicated hashtag for Lincs Connect Networking?  If you would prefer a dedicated hashtag would #LincsTweets work?  Or would you prefer something else?  Please let me know.  Whatever it is, it must be 15 characters or less in length.

 

That’s about it for now.  I propose the next Twitter Networking session should be on Friday 24 April.  How does that sound?

Stay Safe

Home Exercises

Home Exercises

Home Exercise And Social Distancing

Many of you might be missing your gym routines and have limited equipment at home.  Well, let’s see if I can help you out a little bit then.  As we practice social distancing we might find that our partners aren’t quite so enthusiastic (or skilled) when it comes to taking on the roll as your Personal Trainer.  Shadow boxing is good but you can’t beat the feel of pads or a punch bag so perhaps it’s time to find some exercises that you can do on your own.  I’ve been a Personal Trainer since 1993 and started my classes in 1991 while doing my studies.  If anyone fancies joining me on a set programme please let me know.

Equipment

I’m assuming that very few readers will have access to gym equipment so my aim is to keep the exercises equipment free.  If you have an exercise or yoga mat that would be helpful.  If not perhaps a large towel on the floor to protect carpets and skin.  Other than that, let’s see if we can do something with the everyday things we find around the house.  If you’re planning on using the landscape outdoors please be mindful of moss and slippery surfaces as you don’t want to be picking up any injuries by slipping over.  Be mindful of your environment too.  Make sure that there are no hazards around you that might cause injury.

Warming Up

Whichever exercise (or exercises) you choose to do you can warm up by performing an easy version of the exercise.  If you find stepping a challenge try warming up by simply marching on the spot, doing a few knee lifts and balancing on one foot.  If the basic step is easy for you try using the low step as a warm up before tackling the high step.  The same principle will be useful throughout all of the exercises.  Do a couple of sets of 15 – 20 repetitions of the easy version of the exercise to help prepare the muscles.

 

Exercises 1, 2, 3…

Step Ups – you probably don’t have a bench at home but a sturdy dining chair should be high enough for the big exercise. The small exercise could be something as simple as the steps on your staircase.

 

Focus on the Abs and keep your neck relaxed. Imagine a tennis ball between your chin and chest. Your goal will be to keep that distance between your chin and chest throughout the exercises. Try not to nod your head forward as you lift your shoulders. Place your fingers on your head behind your ears and use your fingers as support for your head rather than as pulleys to lift your head! Breath out on the way up and in on the way down. Good technique is better than speed.

 

A high impact ‘lung buster’. Be mindful of technique. Good style is much better than big numbers. Choose your height wisely if you have something to jump onto and make sure it is stable. Think about ‘health and safety’ – if you fall will you be landing on sharp furniture edges or a stone floor? Be careful and only do the version you are confident with. Fatigue leads to lack of coordination so be prepared to stop before accidents happen.

 

Press ups speak for themselves! Once again, be mindful of your environment. If you’re looking for a high surface to do your press-ups on a window ledge is usually a good height and shape BUT you’ll be doing your exercise with your head very close to glass! ALWAYS be mindful of your environment.

Burpees – without doubt this is my favourite all-round exercise. Power jumps are hard work but this one will really test your strength and stamina. Be prepared to start breathing heavily!

How Many & How Long?

To make life easy I suggest you work on a time limit rather than having a fixed number to perform.  If you set yourself one minute for each of your chosen exercises see how many you can perform in that minute.  You may need to rest after 20 second and again after 45 seconds.  That doesn’t matter.  Try keeping a record of how many you can perform of each exercise in one minute.  As you continue to plot your progress you’ll see your rest periods becoming less and the number achieved becoming more.

Good Luck

Have fun and stay injury free.  Do what you can and compare your progress to your own past figures rather than trying to compete against someone else.  Drink water at any time during your routine and spend some time doing some easy stretches afterwards.  If you don’t know any stretches you’ll find lots of them on YouTube.  Post exercise stretches should either be ‘easy’ or ‘developmental’ stretches held for 30 seconds each.  Don’t try anything fancy if you’re not used to it.  Areas to stretch include calf, hamstrings, quads, chest, triceps and shoulders.

Have fun

Enjoy your exercises and if you want any guidance send me a message in a comment on this blog.

 

Lincolnshire Networking

Lincolnshire Networking

#LincsConnect Networking

If a picture paints a thousand words, I guess this picture just about says it all.  Would you like to join me for a Twitter networking session on Monday evening?  For those of you who have been to my networking sessions before you’ll know that they are different from anything else you have been to.  Very relaxed but still structured.  I’ll set time limits so that you all know what is going on.  That will stop the frenzy of searching the hashtag, getting lost with the many conversations and ultimately losing the plot!

Give It A Go

If you fancy giving it a go, please let me know.  It’ll be on Twitter initially but if that goes well I’ll add it to Facebook too.

Stay Safe

Have We Become Numb?

Have We Become Numb?

Ring Any Bells?

I often channel hop when listening to my car radio between clients and recently I happened upon a programme on the BBC World Service. The general gist of the programme revolved around the psychology of giving to charity.  Obviously all charities rely on us for donations and fund raising events but the programme got me thinking;  Have we become numb to the pleading of charities?  I know that many of you will give regularly to your chosen charity, some of you may volunteer while others might be supporting the charities by shopping in the charity shops or taking part in the many events that are held each year.

Who Or What Is To Blame?

Have we become numb to the fundraising calls of the local charities?  Are we becoming numb to their pleading without even realising it?  Perhaps you may recall the horrendous pictures on our TV screens of the ‘flies in their eyes’ images of starving children in African countries who were too weak to even blink.  This is going to sound dreadful I know but perhaps those images have lost their impact now.  Charity adverts have evolved and may now include images of children in school wishing they could get a better education to have a better chance of fending for themselves in future years.  The programme considered both images and the psychological impact of each.  Both images raise funds for the charities but neither image is more effective than the other.  Rather, some people are pre-disposed to giving to one image over the other with the net result being ‘both images work’.

These are just examples of course as there are a huge number of charities working in different ways to raise funds in order to help people and animals.  How would it work though if there was just one charity in the world?  Would that charity cease to exist as a result of its own success?  Perhaps, but that’s just hypothetical of course because the reality is that there are thousands upon thousands of charities around the world.  In fact, these charities make so much ‘noise’ that perhaps we are losing touch with what they are trying to do.  By ‘noise’ I mean TV advertising, radio advertising, newspaper advertising and of course the huge bombardment that we get on social media.  That’s a “huge bombardment” of ‘everything’ and not just from the charities.  Are we in danger of suffering from information overload and therefore switching off from the issues that really matter to us?

Lincolnshire Charities

We have lots of different charities in our region but we should all be thankful that they exist.  We have the Lincoln YMCA @YMCALincs who look out for and care for many vulnerable people.  They truly deserve our attention as they help to get people off the streets, into accommodation and give them a new start in life.  If you haven’t heard of Leonie’s battle yet you need to give her a follow on twitter @chillibean2018 and follow her journey as she undergoes surgery and intensive physiotherapy to help her walk after having ben born Quad Cerebral Palsy.  Such a brave little girl and a dedicated Mum who is constantly fund raising in order to pay for her life changing surgery.  At the other end of the age scale you’ll find @AgeUKLindsey who are an independent charity offering advice and support for the over 50s.  I wonder if we all realise how lucky we are to have such a huge number of heroes in our County who spend valuable time looking after others?

What’s next?

Surely a blog of this sort in March 2020 can’t go out without mentioning Coronavirus (COVID-19).  This dreadful virus has touched everyone here.  A global pandemic which is having a huge local impact.  On a personal note I have cancelled group exercise classes and in my role at LincsConnect I’m seeing first hand how worried people are becoming.  This pandemic isn’t just affecting health (although that is a huge worry) but the disruption it is causing is having a massive negative impact on businesses both large and small.  I’ve seen a huge increase in businesses and charities posting to the #LincsConnect hashtag in order to get their messages around the County.  Some are offering support, some are informing us of changes while others are asking for help.  What can be done?

You’re Not Alone

Those of you who know me on twitter as @MANDARINLEISURE will no doubt remember that I post a positive and (hopefully) uplifting post each morning along with an excerpt from a song.  I wake each morning (that’s always a good start)! with a tune in my head.  It happens every day and I have no control over which song it will be.  That’s my ‘ear worm’ so, being a friendly sort of chap, I have to share it.  Well why should I have to suffer alone?  It’s become a daily ritual now and I know that people from around the world are looking out for it and joining in with the fun.  Here’s an example for you.  Let’s see if you can guess the song:

 

Thinking of all the charitable work that’s going on around the county perhaps ‘now’ is the time to be thinking about how we can help each other.  @LincsConnect has nearly 11,000 ‘local’ followers.  If each one of them visited the hashtag #LincsConnect a couple of times a day to see who they could support we would all benefit hugely.  It’s all very well posting your message (on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) using the hashtag #LincsConnect to tell people what you are doing, what you need or how you can help but it won’t do you any good at all if no one is bothering to look at the hashtag to see what or who they can support.  I’m sorry if that sounds abrupt but the truth is, we are in deep trouble and we need to pull together to get through this problem safely.

I’m No Expert But…

I’m not an economist.  I’m not a high flying business executive.  I’m not an ace charity worker.  I am just ‘me’ but I can see how we can start to help each other.  I’m not talking about getting bread and milk for those who are in isolation.  That has already been broadcast across social media (I’ll post my version of the form for you to print and utilise) and is certainly going to help many people.  What I’m talking about is using and looking at the #LincsConnect hashtag to see who is in need.  Trust me, when you help others you’re more likely to have that help reciprocated when you need it most.

STOP!

Perhaps if those companies who only post their own messages and never look to see how they can help others changed their habits during this period of uncertainty we could start to achieve more.  There is an old saying:  “What goes around, comes around”. NOW is the time to be supportive of others, to be charitable, to look to see what can be done for others because together we can be absolutely AWESOME!

Take a look at this video to see how you can help on Twitter: How To Search #LincsConnect  

For Those Of You Who Are Able

As promised, here is the form for you to print and utilise.  Please use it wisely.

What Next?

I’ve heard people asking “What will life be like after the virus”?  There will be no income and (according to some) no hope!  My answer to that is this:

Life after the virus will carry on.  There will be an income because we will carry on working.  I have hope and that hope is based on my belief in you.

Todays blog was a little different but I think it’s an important one.  What do you think?

Red Lion Inn, Raithby

Red Lion Inn, Raithby

Not Just A Pub Meal

If you get the chance to visit The Red Lion Inn @redlionraithby  I highly recommend you do so.  I paid a visit on Friday evening and was very impressed.  The service is what you would expect from a big city ‘high end’ establishment but the ambiance is exactly what you would expect of a country pub.  David and Richie have really got the mix right.  Let’s face it, when we go out these days we all expect a high level of service and with that in mind we weren’t disappointed.  Sat at our table for two we were able to hear the comments from the table behind us.  Needless to say , it was very complimentary indeed.

Drinks in hand we were shown to our table and handed the menu. Nothing too complicated and not too long either but making a choice was still difficult because everything sounded so nice.  In the end we both chose the same meal (a delicious chicken and leak pie). Mine came with mashed potatoes and my wife chose home cooked chips.  What a treat!  My starter was a warm brie with marmalade and crackers – we shared that of course but I could easily have eaten it myself as it was light enough to enjoy while not being too filling before my main course.  Half way through the meal chef Richie came in to the restaurant area.  We recognised each other but neither of us were quite sure.  Richie made the connection first and confirmed my thoughts.  I had known Richie some time ago from a previous restaurant of his and now this excellent food quality made perfect sense.  I had made a couple of trips to Richies restaurant in Scunthorpe several years previously.  The first time was to say hello because we had been chatting on Twitter and the second time was because I had enjoyed his cooking so much on my first visit that I had to go back and take my family with me.  This time though I had no idea that Richie would be cooking our dinner.  However, I immediately recognised the quality of the meal and it made perfect sense when he walked into the restaurant.

David was the perfect host (should I be calling him Landlord)?  We enjoyed a good chat at the table between courses and he explained how they had only taken the pub on about 15 months ago.  They have certainly made their mark on the pub and in the village too.  Last New Years Eve they hired the village hall where entertainment was organised and villagers were able to enjoy the party atmosphere of the entertainment while having the option of combining it with the quieter space of the pub throughout the evening.

Dessert Sir?

My photography doesn’t do justice to this but trust me, it was absolutely delicious

If you ask me if I would like dessert the answer is normally ‘no thank you’ but this is Richies cooking so obviously I couldn’t refuse.  At the top of the dessert board was ‘jam roll polly with custard’.  My eyes stopped there!  I had no reason to look any further because this is proper ‘man food’ and it was cooked by ‘the man’ himself so I knew it was going to be good.  I certainly wasn’t disappointed either.  What a treat.

I don’t get out very often for pub meals (work usually gets in the way) but when I do I really enjoy a pint of @batemansbrewery Batemans XB.  A perfect pint to accompany a perfect pub meal.  My wife chose a G&T from the Gin menu and, needless to say, we were both happy with our choices.

Getting There

If you’re not sure where Raithby is and are wondering how to get there I have some very good news for you; There is an hourly bus (No 56) that runs from Lincoln via Horncastle to Skegness and it stops outside the pub.  Honestly, it couldn’t have been designed better if if they tried!  By car it’s quite simple too as it’s just off the A158 between Horncastle and Skegness.  When you get to Hagworthingham you know you’re only a couple of minutes away.

What’s On Offer

Obviously the food comes highly recommended and the Gin menu (if you like gin) will certainly make you happy. The village pub atmosphere is just ‘spot on’ which is exactly what you would want and expect.  In fact, if I describe it as ‘homely’ you’ll probably understand what I mean.  To get that homely atmosphere David and Richie view their customers as guests in their home.  That’s their words not mine but it makes perfect sense – you’ll understand when you visit.

I also spotted a couple of notices around advertising their quiz night on 28 March.  It starts at 8.30pm so that gives you chance to book a table for dinner beforehand.  On that note, I really do mean ‘book a table’ because when you do, it’s yours for the evening.  That may limit the number of people they serve in the restaurant but it’s done for a reason because it means you won’t be rushed to eat up and move out to make way for the next customers.  It really is that relaxed.  Oh, I also noticed that they are serving dinner on Mothers Day too.  Needless to say, you’ll need to book early if you want to treat your Mum.  It’s a dog friendly pub which makes it the ideal place for a meal after a walk in the Lincolnshire countryside.  Don’t worry if you don’t have your own dog though as Teddie can be found patrolling the premises.

Teddie

Teddie will be on patrol of course

Get In Touch

If you would like to make your bookings for a meal and/or the quiz give them a ring on 01790 753727 but bear in mind that the pub is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Opening hours are from midday until 11.00pm and from 9.00am on Saturdays when you can pop in for breakfast.  It’s also worth noting that they don’t take bookings via social media.  Take a quick look at the website here to give you an idea of what’s on the menu and what events they have coming up www.redlioninn.pub

Changes Are Coming…

As promised the blog format will be changing slightly over the next few days.  I’ll be including #WhatsOnLincs for a few Whats On notices ahead of the new Whats On page and calendar plus there will be a few charity notices pinned to the end too.  If you would like to advertise on these blogs please do get in touch.

That’s it for now.  Have a good day and stay safe.

 

 

Don’t forget the small businesses…

Don’t forget the small businesses…

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Social Media

I suspect we will all agree that social media can be a very powerful tool.  Using it to showcase your work and advertise your skills is obvious of course but many forget to use it to network too.  Networking on social media is easy and quiet individual.  Those of you who know me as @MANDARINLEISURE will no doubt be familiar with my early morning music quiz where I post lyrics from my daily ear worm (I always wake up with a song going around in my head).  It started out by accident but has become a daily ritual and gets lots of engagement from around the world.  It increases my ‘reach’ and makes me a good account in the eyes of the twitter bots.  Following up with conversations and light hearted chatter keeps the connections alive and, I’m pleased to say, has resulted in me making some very good friends as well as a few business connections and commissions.

Grow Your Business On Social Media

Some big businesses are extremely good on social media of course.  I recently had cause to tweet @AppleSupport following an issue I had with my iMac and the response and service I received were second to none. Thank you Apple for your care and attention.  Obviously Apple are a very big company and probably have a vast social media team looking after their customer enquiries.  That doesn’t mean they ‘have’ to be good at it though.  However, they ‘are’ very good at it and we can all learn lessons from their forward thinking and caring ethos.

Good Manners Cost Nothing

Alas, not all larger companies are as good as they could be.  I recently had an enquiry from outside of the County and I happily gave two separate recommendations.  Neither of the recommended companies bothered to thank me for those recommendations until I publicly tweeted my disappointment at their lack of response.  As a sole trader I look forward to recommendations, retweets, shares, and comments from all businesses but I do wonder why so many larger local businesses refrain from sharing or commenting on other peoples hard work.

Does Social Media Work?

Bespoke Lighting Design

Hand made ‘Ribcage Light’

Of course it does!  This morning I tweeted a request for some original local pictures depicting local business. My request was answered within seconds by @ArtedlyLight who design and make bespoke lights.  Not mass produced lighting but hand crafted, made with love, feeling and a lot of soul for each client.

Social media shares and good old fashioned recommendations will help small companies like this (and me) to become larger and more profitable companies.  A more profitable company might employ staff then more staff and become a larger business.  It’s important to remember though that this small business is ‘here’…. ‘right now’! Small businesses like ours have more chance of growing if we work together and share each others work to reach a wider audience.

Please take a look at www.light-artedly.co.uk to see what Emma and Jim provide.  Obviously they are ready to take your commissions but will be happy to have your recommendations too.

Share And Share Alike

When you’re using your social media please don’t be one of ‘those’ companies who just posts their own work and expect everyone else to share it for you.  Be an ‘Apple’ or better still, be a @LincsConnect.  To see what other local businesses are doing on social media make sure you regularly search the #LincsConnect hashtag.  Look what’s going on, share a few messages and make some positive comments.  You’ll quickly learn who the supportive businesses are and you’ll form bonds.  It’s good to share and if you get the chance, it’s good to support with a purchase too.

Let’s all work together