Networking versus People Connecting
I recently ran a 1 day workshop for a local government on “networking”. When I mention the work “Networking” a lot of people glaze over, it is often described as a key business tool in the world of today (which I totally agree with), its power and success cannot be under estimated, and yet to a lot of people and certainly the group I recently worked with it conjured up images of going into a crowded room full of people we don’t know, having to introduce ourselves and fills us with dread. And if that wasn’t bad enough then having someone push a business card in your hand and then harass you via social media to meet up again.
Hopefully my workshop enabled people to learn the art of networking – what it can do for you and most importantly how to be an effective networker to build your career. A lot of people think networking is about selling, I don’t believe it is, for me its about meeting new people and maybe developing mutually effective business relationships. Networking isn’t a quick fix it takes time, energy and effort.
Here are my top tips for networking effectively:-
- Be aware of your first impression – think about what to wear, and pay attention to body language.
- Identify what you want to achieve – none of us can afford 3 hours out of the working day where we are not being paid or being productive. Do you want to network for inspiration, to find a role model, for information, for support?
- Beginning and endings – learn the art of small talk to open a conversation, build some rapport, the kiss of death is launching straight into business speak.
- Know when to move on, 7 mins per person is optimum.
- Follow up – make sure you keep in touch with those people who you clicked with, and who you felt there maybe some value in developing an ongoing relationship.
Jo Parfitt and Jacqui Tillyard are both what I would describe as Queen Networkers, they have written a book together called Grow Your Own Networks ISBN 0-9529453-7-1 The book uses gardening as a metaphor. Well worth a read.
Happy networking or should I say people connecting!