Does Networking really work?
I am delighted to have been notified recently that I have been shortlisted for a women in business award with the networking group Ladies First. The category I have been nominated in is Achieving through Networking.
I have been attending business networking events for over 10 years and they are the backbone of my business and the source of 99% of all my leads. I have been nominated for awards before but this nomination is even more rewarding as I am not a member of the Ladies First group and don’t know the people behind it. Therefore don’t you think that makes it even more worthwhile as they are not a business friend or associate who wants me to do well etc I have earned my place completely on merit.
If you are a new member of WIBN or new to networking here are a few tips on how to get the most out of it:-
- Be a giver rather than a taker – its pretty obvious but you will soon gain kudos in your group if you can make recommendations and referrals rather than go along just thinking what’s in this for me?
- Make the effort to learn more about your fellow networking members – start building rapport and try and bank what they have told you so you can refer to it again to show that you have genuinely listened and taken an interest in what they are saying and talk about the topic again on next meeting.
- Take the discussion beyond the meeting – can you meet for a 1-1 or perhaps arrive an hour early for the next meeting and meet up there – it will fit in well with your diary and mean you not only get an opportunity to learn more about them they get to learn more about you than they ever will in the 60 seconds you get each meeting.
- If you get a referral make sure you follow it up and see it through – take the time to email or call the person who recommended you afterwards to update them on how it went and thank them for the business. When we feel appreciated we will do that little more to help – so it may lead to further referrals in the future.
- Before attending a networking meeting – can you find out who will be there – who you want to speak to. prepare your 60 seconds so you are making the best use of that very short time to tell the other ladies what is you do and how you help people or what problem you solve.
- Don’t be afraid – have fun with it. We are all human and not many of us enjoy standing up in front of people and talking. However we are all the same and all want each other to do well so try to relax – be prepared and go for it!
My motto is always you Get out of Networking what you put in – I have put the effort in over the years and it has certainly reaped the rewards for me. It can do the same for you. I got so much out of networking in fact that I set up my own monthly networking group back in 2016 and have hosted a meeting once a month ever since. I want to give back to other women – the same advice, support and help I had that has helped me to grow my businesses to where they are today.
I have my interview for my Award on 5th February at Mallory Court in Leamington Spa – wish me luck. The Awards night is in May where I find out if I have won or not.