I attend at least two face-to-face networking events every month.
One is over breakfast and one is over drinks. If I can, I try and squeeze in another event somewhere along the line. Sure, it takes time out of my week but the rewards are huge.
1. Networking gets me out of my office cave
One of the main reasons I make time for face-to-face networking is to get out of my office. Sure, I do a lot of online networking but in my kind of work, it’s all too easy to have days and weeks pass by without actually sitting down and talking to someone in real life.
The social interaction keeps me (mostly) sane.
2. Networking lets me practise my elevator pitch
Everyone should have a succinct way to talk about what they do. You’ve probably been through the exercise of writing your elevator pitch but how often do you actually practise it? And not just practise it in your head but make it seem like a natural response to the question, “So what do you do?”
Making your sound bite summary seem like anything but a pitch takes practice and meeting new people, as often as possible, lets me do just that.
3. Networking brings me business
I put this one last as it’s really just a perk for me. I don’t go into networking events with the expectation of walking out with clients. I know some people do and it’s written all over their face, and the way they talk to you. They size you up and work out your potential “value” before excusing themselves to “work the room”.
Networking is an investment, not a QuickPick
Networking is all about building relationships. You rarely get business after meeting someone for 10 minutes. It happens but a lot of stars have to align! Great business leads come after relationships are built and that happens when you’ve met someone a few times.
Some people approach business networking as an opportunity to spray their business cards around with the hope that someone will need them. The same people usually collect a lot of business cards and pop everyone straight into a database, signing their new contacts up for their newsletter along the way.
They aren’t the kind of people I like to meet and that’s not my idea of networking.
I’d love to know how much time you make for networking. Is it regular or random? What do you look for in a networking event?
The Copy Detective