Networking – Is it for you?
NETWORKING – IS IT FOR YOU?
The word “Networking” is an interesting one. To start with, it can be off putting. To a newcomer, a vision might spring to mind of large a room full of people you don’t know, but with whom you feel obliged to converse, supposedly because that is the way to advance yourself in business. At its worst, it can be false and superficial. You come along with a handful of business cards, you swop a fkew, have a couple of drinks for dutch courage, and then slope off into the background hoping that no one saw how uncomfortable you felt. You think to yourself, how can such a contrived situation be of any use?
But what if you saw it just as an extension of your everyday life. We network all the time; we just don’t call it networking. Unless we are a hermit, we have no choice but to network – in the office, at the shops, the gym, the school gates, the hairdressers- the list is endless. It’s something women excel at – communication, and it is absolutely essential if we are going to prosper. All we have to do is apply the same principles to the business functions/clubs we attend. It’s all about being interested in people, getting to know their business/skills and thinking of how you can help them. If you love people, then people will love you. It really is that simple! One business man recently said to us that the thing he liked about networking with women is that they are not out to put on a show, talk about the latest deal or football score; but that their conversation went below the surface and was definitely more interesting.
Besides , don’t think of your daily life as something completely separate to a networking event. A good networker has their antennae tuned to business possibilities all the time – it becomes a natural way of life! Lots of members of our club have great stories to tell of how they won a business contract via everyday run of the mill situations. Don’t be shy to let people know what you do and how you help people in business, but make sure you repay the compliment, because what you put in is really what you are going to get out of it.
Networking is however far more than just about winning business. If you belong to a club such as ours, you begin to build up a professional support group which is not to be underestimated. Our members have lots of different talents and a huge number of connections which can help smooth the way. None of us are islands. It’s what makes us humans – we need that social communication. Women get where other women are coming from! We understand what it is to juggle work and family; we share problems and feel better for it; and we pass on tips and contacts very naturally.
Networking is for everyone. You need to dip your toe in to find the right forum and then go for it!