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If someone said you would have fun and a laugh, eat until you were full, have an unlimited supply of coffee and water and develop connections with 75 Hampshire and Surrey businesses, all for the price of a round of drinks, you’d probably be asking yourself, why wasn’t I there? 
That’s been #BoB100 this morning at the Holiday Inn, Farnborough. Yes it was early (6:30am) but was it worth it? Definitely! 
 
At this point I need to show my hand. I am a Bob-ber (Basingstoke branch). That is a member of Business over Breakfast. All of the Hampshire groups came together to host an open meeting to give local businesses the opportunity to connect and develop relationships. There were old faces, new faces and yes some faces you recognised, but could you put a name to them? Damn, is that just me?! Once the coffee had started to do its work, the chatting began. I always prefer to find out about other people before opening up about myself. It’s just the way I am and it gives me the opportunity to seek out areas of common ground. Abruptly (in a polite way) the room was brought to a silence when our meeting chair, Martin Fowler, (Uncle BoB Hampshire) announced that a very hearty Full English breakfast was served (fruit and cereal also available). Once eaten, and with cups re-filled, each of us took it in turn to say in 60 seconds who we were, what our business did and the opportunities we were looking for. Two things always strike me during this part of these meetings: 
The sheer number of different businesses that are out there; and 
How someone who is in the same business as you pitches their offering in a totally different way. 
 
OK, so 70 people x 60 seconds is a little long. But there a bit of banter and the occasional witticism along the way, and I didn’t see anyone yawn through my one minute. Once completed there was a break for more coffee and an opportunity to track down people of interest. 
 
The final part of the meeting brought everyone back together to say what they had got out the morning, if there were specific 1-2-1 meetings they wanted to set up, to recommend others in the room, and to make any event announcements. The meeting formally ended at 10:00am but the networking was going on when I left some time later as there was a pressing work matter I needed to finish. 
 
If the event sounds like one you wish you were at, then the good news is that are two similar events planned in the near future: 
 
28/6 BoB Winchester Visitors Day 
7/9 #BoB100 in Basingstoke 
 
Keep an eye on the BoB Hampshire website for full details. 
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