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Networking 101 – The benefits of networking

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Dr Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“Benefits of networking include:
• An enhanced power base
• Broader access to resources
• Expanding your sphere of influence
• Supportive mentorship of peers
• Successful new business transactions and relationships.”

Let’s have a look at these individually.

An enhanced power base.

Every time you get a referral from someone or someone new comes to a networking meeting, your own database increases. As you increase your database, so your power base increases and your own personal “value add” increases exponentially.

Broader access to resources.

Now, this is a really important one – with the broader access to resources, comes a much bigger value add. One of the jokes that I tell at some of the networking events is that I pretty much have a contact for most requirements – that includes a brain surgeon! That has always brought out the chuckles and often nervous giggles. Last week I actually had to use that contact for a friend who has been in considerable pain for a very long time and who needed a reputable neuro-surgeon. Imagine for a moment, how she must feel right now?

Expanding your sphere of influence.

Man, oh, man! This is such a fabulous concept and so simplistic as well. Let me give you some more detail – I have a friend and colleague by the name of Mirriam “Nuska” Zwane. For those of you who don’t know her or of her, she is a multiple winner of the “Woman of the Year” award as well as numerous other accolades that she has picked up along the way. Mirriam often sends me a mail, or someone will call me and say “Mirriam has asked me to contact you”. I don’t question it, I don’t ask for motives or try and analyse why – I just set up a meeting at the soonest possible opportunity. You see every time Mirriam sends someone to me, it’s guaranteed work for me and the other individual irrespective of whether it comes from each other or from our databases. Mirriam for me is a wonderful sphere of influence. Go on – google her and see what comes out – she is a woman amongst women!

The powerful thing here is that Mirriam is known for her integrity and her credibility and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that when she asks me to interact with someone, something very exciting is going to come out of that meeting. So I often sit in the first meeting and say “I have no idea why I am here – Mirriam sent me, so tell me how can I be of help?”

Wouldn’t you like a “sphere of influence like mine” – I am pretty sure that you would!

Supportive mentorship of peers

I often hear people (especially in the SMME environment) say how lonely it is in business. This is often because they work on their own, and often the only source of interaction that they have is with their clients. Having a network of people and attending networking sessions allows for interaction with those people. It is good for the soul – you will find that the problems that you encounter are usually the same problems that they too encounter. The result of this of course is that you get to “brainstorm” with like-minded people and find practical solutions to the issues at hand.

Suddenly you are not so “lonely” in business, you have a sounding board (well several really) and you have a multitude of expertise and experience available on tap.

Successful new business transactions and relationships

Don’t you just love meeting people? Don’t you just love talking to people? Oh about all sorts of things – and as the conversation meanders through business expectations and then through personal transactions and as you get to know that individual more and more, you get to learn more about their dreams, their hopes and their wishes and so in return to share your dreams and hopes and aspirations and they learn more about you as an individual and so a relationship is born. As that relationship grows, so too does your trust and commitment to that individual and as that grows, so too will the business referrals. You don’t have to become personally involved with the individual – you can just maintain a professional relationship and just as a good friendship is grown and maintained on solid honest foundations so too is a good business relationship. They both feed and nourish the soul.

So when are you off to your next networking event? Don’t you think you should start going, for your own sake and for the sake of your business?

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at