“A really important part of networking is actually about what you bring to the table, not just what you want to get out of it. Contribution is a big part of networking success.”
No matter what stage you’re at in your work life you can never have too many contacts. Having a healthy network around you is valuable on many levels. You can leverage your colleagues for all sorts of reasons – because you enjoy their company; they give great advice; they also have their own pool of contacts that you can share; you can help others by creating connections and much more. The most basic of reasons to join a business networking group is to sell yourself and promote your business but there is another way.
Some of the most successful people we know network primarily to bring people together. By being at the centre of lots of joined up groups of people they are inevitably reminding people they exist and their kindness and positivity is recalled regularly. This kind of networking – for the good of others – creates its own momentum and inevitably drives attention to your business.
You’ll find that people enjoy this kind of care. They’ll think of you as helpful, with good energy, and do the same for you – a business version of paying it forward (great film by the way).
When you’re next at a networking event (and why not make it a DrivenNet event?), give it a go. When you meet someone, consider who else might need their products or services and promise to make some introductions where you can. If you can’t summon anything up there and then, wait until you’re in your office and drop them an email saying it was good to meet them and that you’ll bear them in mind when you or anyone you know is looking for a new accountant, stationery supplier, chauffeur service or advertising agency.
Asking how you can help others is an attractive quality. Being genuinely interested in someone else’s business works just as well as being interested in someone on a social level. We all enjoy talking about ourselves and our work – mainly because we know the answers and it’s easy. Spending time asking questions of others is a really useful networking skill – it’ll help to create authentic relationships, not just of-the-moment opportunities to push your own agenda.
If you’re on Linkedin and other networking platforms you can tag people you know in useful articles and share information with people where it’s relevant. Keep this light and infrequent though – being interested is great but don’t overstep and become a nuisance.
We can’t stress enough how being interested is the key to building worthwhile business relationships. It’s also much more rewarding than doling out business cards and hoping for the best. We also advocate saving the business talk for after the networking event. Have a great time talking, drinking good coffee and, in our case, seeing amazing cars. Park the serious conversations (excuse the pun) for later.
Introducing a new DrivenNet region… In the spirit of expanding networks, we are doing just that as we introduce DrivenNet in the North East. We’ll be bringing the groups together occasionally and making sure everyone has the opportunity to extend their own networks between Yorkshire and the North East. More of that soon!