As I start a new financial year I have been reviewing where
my time has most effectively been spent in the last year. As before, I am struck by the amount of
networking and follow-up meetings I have been doing. Since writing a blog on networking more than a
year ago I have continued to attend breakfasts and lunches, small and larger groups,
had coffee, tea and drinks with a number of people and had many interesting
conversations. As always, I am motivated
by meeting and sharing ideas with interesting people, debating topics and
hearing what others are doing.
Many of the people I’ve met have been a delight, generous
in their insights and openness. There’s
the occasional person, of course, who obviously has not read those articles
about how we should, or should not, behave in a networking situation.
Much is written about the benefits of networking and
how we should conduct ourselves, but what conclusions have I drawn from my own further
review? And what have I learned and done differently to the previous year’s
· I occasionally try new networking
groups, although I now try to avoid very large, noisy events as it’s difficult
to focus on a conversation when you are being buffeted around in a packed room.
· Smaller groups, with longer
conversations and a little less ‘circulation’ allows more time to get to know
people, build common ground and understand their needs more.
· I particularly enjoy events
where I learn something new or refresh my skills. Only last week I attended an event at the
Institute of Directors on ‘Blogging for Business Growth’.
The other points I previously wrote about are still
valid for me:
· If an event doesn’t feel right
the first time, try it a second time as the first time might have been a
personal ‘off’ day. However, if it
doesn’t feel right a second time, try something else.
· I try to avoid events where I
am forced to attend on a regular basis because that becomes a ‘job’ rather than
a positive experience. I also avoid
events where the norm is to exchange business cards in the first few seconds,
as that just equates to many brief conversations.
· Networking outside of my
profession broadens my perspective of the wider business context and of the
world in general.
· The right environment adds much
to a networking event, so for me somewhere that is not time-limited creates a
much more comfortable environment.
· Many people are generous in
sharing ideas, experiences and suggestions so be as generous to those who
· Sometimes I have to challenge
myself to enter a room of strangers, but rarely is it anything other than a
pleasant occasion and generally much more.
As I saw on a tweet posted only this
morning by Paul Hopwood, "Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap,
but by the seeds that you sow." Robert Louis Stevenson
If you would like to build your confidence to
enable you to network more effectively, please do get in touch.