For the longest time, networking has been about handing out cards. Think about it for a moment, if you went to a Networking event, it was usually at one of the Chambers, you were usually encouraged to wander around with a cup of tea in one hand and a sticky bun/cake/sandwich in the other and off you went to engage with some poor unsuspecting person, who was usually caught on the back foot, or you were caught on the back foot. Networking, these days is just so much more! Don’t get me wrong, there are still some that prefer the ‘old’ traditional way of Networking, but as in most other aspects of our lives, Networking has also moved forward.
So what other options are there? Well, apart from the ‘Chamber’ type networking, there are several different types of meetings that you can go to – some are dinners, some are breakfasts, some are during the day. Some have themes with guest speakers or presentations, some have a combination of a whole lot of different things – you need to find what you are comfortable with. On a personal level, I prefer meetings that are semi facilitated. As an introvert, I find it difficult to just walk up to strangers and just start talking – I guess that is why I am not too fond of ‘cold calling’ either.
Then there are the social networks such as ‘Facebook’ and ‘MySpace’. These are essentially fun networks, where people who are passionate about Networking can and often do, do a lot of business.
Actually, if the truth be told, people who are passionate about Networking can actually network anywhere.
Where ever you Network though, remember that building and maintaining networks is all about building relationships. So stay in touch, send out newsletters, or interesting titbits of information to do with your business that would make people want to know more, invite people to the new places that you discover and share with your database.
Share your knowledge, share your experiences, share what you have to offer, who you are and what it is that you do – you’ll be surprised at just how much fun you can have.