Does Networking Work?

his is my year to network. While going through chemo last fall, I was able to keep up with my clients and service them properly, but I just didn’t have the energy to network. You know how it is. . .when you’re networking you have to be ON. You should be energetic and engaged. And boy, I just couldn’t do it. So I finally gave it up and made a plan to network in 2013 to build the business.

I’ve been to many events this year.
And I have to admit, I get a perverse pleasure out of watching some of my fellow networkers. It’s sort of like people-watching at the beach. So very fascinating. Some people are just clueless. Others are in your face.

Networking for results.
If you want relationships that work, keep it genuine. What you really want to do when you’re networking is to be interested in the person you are talking to. Listen. You learn a lot. What you do, or what the person to whom you are speaking does, really doesn’t matter. If you can engage in a conversation with someone and find that you have some mutual interests, you are networking effectively.

The purpose. For me, the purpose of networking is to develop relationships that matter. It doesn’t make any difference if the person I’m talking to is a potential client or a potential partner. Or this person might be someone I never work with. That’s not the point. The idea here is to develop a relationship that matters to both of you. It’s quite possible that business will come later.

The worst networker.
Have you encountered the person who comes into the event, goes around the room handing out his business card, only talks about what he does and then disappears? This is an example of good intentions going haywire. Do these types of networkers honestly expect business from this effort? I can’t imagine.

Get comfortable.
Some people just hate to network. They tend to glom onto one person that they connect with and they don’t let go – during the entire event. Instead, find a networking group that works for you. Do you like to golf? Join a league. No joke – your fellow golfers can be great people to network with.

Quality over Quantity. Lesson learned by me. Yep, go to the events that matter. Now, before you start bobbing in and out of every networking group, make a commitment to that group. Attend regularly before crossing them off your list.

Make a plan.
Like every other marketing initiative, if you don’t have a plan, the event will turn into activity and not accomplishment. What are you looking for? Figure it out. Narrow it down. Make a plan to find the people or businesses that will fit with your plan. It works.

Now, get out there and enjoy!

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