I was sitting in the Directors’ Room at the IoD in Pall Mall just before Christmas waiting to meet a couple of ex-colleagues for a drink. I had arrived a bit early so grabbed a newspaper to pass the time. Before I got to page three I heard a shrill voice shout ‘Miss!’ as one of the waitresses passed by, dressed as always in the fashion of Upstairs / Downstairs.
My attention broken, I looked round the room and listened. An amazing hubbub of noise and activity was taking place as 150 or so people chatted at dozens of meeting tables scattered around the large room. It reminded me that it had always been like this, the room so loud that I couldn’t make out the detail of anyone else’s conversation. Not for the first time it crossed my mind to wonder who these people were, men and women of all ages, sizes and, presumably, backgrounds. What noble or scurrilous deals were they concocting? Would they get the job that was being discussed?
I’ve used the IoD as my London office for more than 20 years, an impressive and professional place to meet clients and associates for both business and pleasure. I’ve also used their premises in Edinburgh and Nottingham to impress contacts. Membership costs next to nothing and the services are fantastic, not just the surroundings and the catering facilities, but the research services, legal advice and reference library that are included in the price. It provides a wealth of opportunity and benefit for smaller companies whilst allowing the business owner or director to project a successful and confident image.
I recommend the IoD strongly. It’s an exciting environment in that old-fashioned British way where I’ve progressed many a good deal. Should you be interested in joining however please let me know, because when a member introduces a new member he receives six bottles of champers! And because I’m a team player that translates to 3 bottles each.
I wonder what the other contributors to the hubbub think I’m up to when I’m ‘in residence’.