I still have a number of colleagues and friends in the Corporate World and am often amazed at some of the comments that I hear about networking. The one that astounds me the most is “I don’t go to networking events because I get hit on by people looking for work!” Oh how sad!
On a personal level, I just don’t think that most corporate people “get it” – the plot I mean, or what networking is all about.
Not going to a networking event because you are afraid of people trying to get you to give them work or because they would like to become your service providers is just not clever.
Yes, some people will “hit” on them – there is no doubt about that. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee it, however, they fail to see the “big” picture!
You see by not going to these events, they will not be meeting new people and by not meeting new people, their own network is not going to grow, and not actively growing their network is not clever. In fact, it could have some serious, adverse repercussions on their businesses.
I am often reminded of this when I attend some of the Business Engage (www.businessengage.co.za) functions. Business Engage is supported by many of the Corporate’s in the financial world – in particular banks and insurance companies. In most instances, the Corporate has taken out a block membership to Business Engage for their staff. Most of the functions are attended by someone who “represents” the Corporate entity and in many cases, this someone has no interest whatsoever in networking. In fact, they see this as an obligation to their employer and a chance to have a free meal.
They are so easy to spot and it’s not difficult to see how different they are to the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is bouncing around the place, interacting with new people, exchanging business cards and generally working the opportunity that they have, whilst the corporate employee is sticking to their respective groups and trying hard not to “talk to strangers”!
My message to the Corporate world is this – “you guys need to get with the programme”! When it comes to making and sustaining sound Business Connections – the entrepreneur is streets ahead of the corporate. Entrepreneurs are hungry for new contacts, they explore every business opportunity available to them, from meeting that new contact to looking for new innovative ways to do business!
Let me put it this way – we all talk about the bottom line – my bottom line is this:
All of my business comes through networking! I do not advertise, I do not do any marketing. You will not see anything about my business on a flyer. There are no advertisements in magazines or any other periodicals. Yet I am beginning to be well known in the marketplace.
I wonder why that is? Perhaps it is because I am a natural networker and I use every opportunity to talk to people, about who I am and what my business is.
The question is – shouldn’t you?