Networking is the activity or activities which enable you to build up contacts to help you in both your personal and business life. Networking is a two way process where both parties can benefit from the contact. Many contacts are accidental and arise through normal day to day interaction with people.
Most benefit can be perceived when connecting with people who either can help you or you can help them. As these linkages allow you to reach contacts both directly and indirectly, this approach also results in multiplying effects on personal reach, as a consequence of interconnecting with other people’s networks.
Key Benefits of Networking
• Increase your personal sales and marketing
• Increase your influence
• Build a personal brand
• Increase the number of referrals you receive
Joining on-line forums and electronic networking tools, such as www.linkedin.com can help, but one of the most effective ways of learning, is to talk to someone.
Networking is about advocacy and finding a route to market, rather than seeing the individual you are talking to AS your market. This distinction is really what networking is all about, because if you adopt this way of thinking, you are more likely to get your desired results. Interestingly enough, random connections with others, rather than focused networking, which targets specific people, can be far more likely to help you to achieve your networking goals. You just never know who people know!
• Decide what your networking purpose is and to know specifically how you can help or what you have to offer others.
• Focus on the ‘other’ person. If you genuinely have their interest at heart, they will be drawn to you. Remember what their interests are and any key facts, including their name, area of business and company name.
• Don’t use ‘elevator pitches’, unless you can use them in a way that is interesting or engaging. Quite often these can be too factual or over-rehearsed.
• Ensure you actively listen to the other person.
• Don’t pitch your product straight after saying “hello”.
Local Networking Events in early June for your Diary
Here is a list of networking events, purpose of the meeting, and location. So whether you want a breakfast meeting, or an after work meeting, there is a range of choice on here.
There are specific networking groups aimed at women. Take a look at the Gwent Business Women’s Network, which offers a variety of opportunities. The next opportunity is being held on the 2nd June.
The South Wales chamber of Commerce offers a variety of services; networking is just one of them. Their next business breakfast even is on the 3rd June.
Introbiz offers a range of networking seminars and meeting. Their next meeting is on 4th June, in Cardiff.
Next week, we’ll explore networking opportunities and how to develop networking skills further!