Does networking work for you?
The first big point for me, many years ago, was to recognise that networking works best when I use it to meet new people and build relationships with them. That it can raise the profile of my business or myself in the community. And that it works least well when I use it to try to sell to people. To me it’s a network, not a market.
I hate networks where all anyone is trying to do is sell to me. Surely they must realise that all that will do is make me avoid them. I never try to sell when I network, I look for people I could do business with and arrange to meet them to discuss how that might happen. Most of the time I try to find ways to help other people, and to introduce people to each other so they can thrive and make new contacts. I know that they will remember me if that happens.
If you always look for opportunities to give help and advice, I reckon the business will come to you eventually. I also find that the more I network properly, the more people I get to know and the more the business community sees me as a useful member; which is probably why I now regularly get asked to speak at networks.
My networking mantra is to help others by introducing them to people who will be useful to them and their business. So if I can help you with your business, feel free to ask.
I have written a guide to how to network, which is in my resources section on this web site. You are welcome to download it and use it to help you network more effectively if you wish. I hope you find some useful tips in it. And I would be delighted to hear your networking stories too, so please email me with the best and worst networking experience you have had and I will try to publish some of them – anonymously of course.