It’s taken a bit over a week for it to really sink in that I lead my team to win the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title.
Everyone involved was a winner. Some of them made it to the day, others lent their support virtually, but it all came together.
The GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™ title was for the Most number of people attending a business speed-networking event.
Being a part of UK’s Small Business Community and leading a programme that shares the importance of a carefully constructed pitch, I found a link of combining a world record with the world class event that we run.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing.. it took a lot of pitching, focus and determination.
Read on to find out what was learnt, lost and achieved …
The preparation: The ups, the downs, the sideways
On a hot summers day, whilst staring outside my office window I decided that this would be the year I would attempt to win a World Record for the Most number of people attending a business speed-networking event.
We were in June and the event was in not till October, but if this had to be done, we had just the right amount of time.
“Life is too short not to take action.”
First I pitched to my team, told them it would be hard work, but my promise is that it would be worth it .They were on board with what we call – bells and whistles.
I then pitched to some others around me … few had doubts, but they soon subscribed to the big vision and were on board.
Then we started to pitch to people externally … Some questioned its success whilst others jumped right in to help.
The more I pitched, the more I enrolled people. The movement had begun….
At our workshops we talk about “You get what you Pitch for and you are always Pitching” .
The big vision attracted some big partnerships. Some new, some with those who were existing. With these we started spreading the message … through word of mouth.
But time was ticking, we were nowhere near our goal for tickets sold..and there were a dozen key logistical and promotional challenges.
For those who’d like to know more about the key challenges, click here >
Action on the day
On the morning of the event we had 640 tickets booked and about 450 people had arrived in time. The rest were late, stuck in traffic and some decided not to show up (typical for events in London).
We had Dr. Vince Cable MP (Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills) talk at the event which was very well received. After that, I received a text – “we are 20 people short, yikes!”
An hour before the Guinness attempt, we were short of numbers. Many were on their way, stuck in traffic and some decided not to show up (typical for events in London). The team began to hustle, so did our clients who were helping.
I heard stories of people starting to call everyone who was on their way, text them, send a few SOS message’s out, some even went outside and asked a few strangers to if they wanted to attend!
I too sent an SOS to a few friends and tweeted. In my desperation (somewhere in between introducing Dale Murray CBE on stage, I messaged Robert Gardner the co-founder of Redington. My message was distorted but fortunately Robert got the essence of what I meant and sent 6 people from his office to the event within an hour. Very Superman like!
There were a few things that didn’t go as per planned, but the team was working as one to sort it out. 15 minutes to go for the record attempt and we were now 7 people short.
When the Guinness World Record™ attempt started, it was no longer just on our ability to organise but now it was to lead the 500 people to network non-stop for one and half hour with a dozen rules, which if not followed could disqualify them.
I had butterflies in my belly, but I chose to turn those butterflies of nervousness in my stomach to those of excitement.
I went through the briefing which was important and made sure we were abiding by the Guinness World Records™ rules.
Finally, it was time to start … we were ready … and we started with round 1 of 23.
During the speed networking, we had people who were losing their voices but none lost steam as they were now determined to be a part of the Guinness World Records™ title attempt.
We had an 87 year old, Dame Gillian Wagner (who happens to be our mentor Lucy McCarraher’s mother) who participated in the speed networking and pitched her business.
Never before had they been offered a chance to get a Certificate of Participation from the Guinness World Records™ in exchange of 2 hours of their life.
Besides that, they knew that this was a chance for them to meet other like minded entrepreneurial people in the room – each who represented or owned a business.
Many seized the opportunity and we are told that thousands of pounds worth of business has already arisen from that for many.
Finally, we all finished 23 rounds of networking … we were thrilled. No matter what the result was, we were happy that we followed through what we had attempted.
Few hours later the adjudicator Mark asked us to be back in the room to go through the results.
With bated breath we waited …
YES WE WON! The Adjudicator Mark joined us later in the crew room to tell us that our organisational skills were the best of what he has seen in his career.
Success is a team sport. I’d like to sincerely thank the following who made this event an outstanding one.
Special THANKS to Ash, Francis, Scott, Steve, John, Michael, Svietlana, Keren, Darren, Vicki, Heather, Reza, Anna, Carlyle, Mayank, Yemi, Andy, Dan, Richard, Mark, Emma, Monica, John, Tony, Robin, Kevin, Sammy, Robert, Lourdes, Harjeet, Marta, Grace, Jordan, Modupe and Arabella.
BIG THANKS to Caroline, Anna,Shelley, Stephanie ,Marianne ,Dr Harley, Paula, Anna, Kevin, Gintas, Jane, Robert, Emma, Shamil, Tina, Monica, Zak, Jutta, William, Ali, Juergen, Pamela, Grace, Vernon, Modupe, Makeda, Alison, Sandra, Lana, Victoria, Shvon, Sonal, Chrysoula and Jonathan.
My top tips on achieving a Guinness World Records™ are:
1.Make it a Norm to Perform
I believe that in order to be successful, you need to surround yourself with people who are self motivated and are results oriented.
As a leader it is important that you maintain each persons focus to winning the prize. In my team, we live by the “norm to perform“.
When you have set your self a goal, whether it is individual or in a team, you’ve got to give it your all.
2. Turn Mountains into Molehills
Build capability and think of things that can go wrong before they do.
We had two team meetings where we stressed upon all the things that could go wrong. We evaluated and listed what was in the way for success.
Identifying your key challenges before hand is one of the best things you can do for your business.
3. Find a “Win” for everyone involved
It’s important to win, but it more fun winning together. Everyone at the event was engaged and enthusiastic.
We had something in it for everyone including all those who participated (certificate from Guinness World Records™).
So what was learnt … is the 3 key things above.
What was lost … sleep (and of course Australia Institute of Management lost their world record)
What was achieved … Victory and an achievement which is now on the Guinness World Record’s™ which you can see here..