We could all spend pretty much all day, everyday networking … and from what many a business guru tells us it almost appears that we should be. However, this leaves very little time to do any actual work and begs the question “is networking actually worth it anyway?”.
I’m not a natural ‘joiner’ of groups at networking events, particularly ‘closed’ groups of colleagues/previous networking friends who don’t appear to have a ‘me’ sized hole in their group and who seem to be getting on quite nicely without my input. It’s all pretty uncomfortable really.
And is it worthwhile anyway … will it actually get me opportunities to really discuss the products and services I have to offer?
My previous experience of ‘open’ networking gatherings suggests the answer is ‘no’ … or is that just me? Organisations like Business for Breakfast and BNI are clearly offering a whole different type of networking which can prove very successful for many small businesses, and other ‘focussed’ networking events can also be useful. But if you’re not particularly comfortable with putting yourself forward in public then there may be a better way, one which has delivered dividends for me recently.
Writing posts and articles on group sites like Manchester Professionals or LinkedIn can get you noticed by people in an effective way and open the door to contacting them to thank them for their interest in what you’ve said (of course, you must make sure whatever you write is relevant to who you really are and reflects your genuine attitudes and behaviours). If a connection naturally develops then the relationship can mature over time to discover more about each other and see if any business opportunities present themselves for either party.
So much more natural than a desperate search for someone ‘useful’ at an open networking event … and something that has given me some great connections recently, connections that have provided mutual opportunities for business growth as well as burgeoning friendships.
I hope you’ve found this interesting … I may be in touch!