Networking – what is it exactly?

Some people think it’s just an opportunity for a natter and a hot meal – especially people who work on their own. This, for sure, is one of the reasons why I network. Since becoming self employed I miss the noise and bustle of a busy office and I’ve met some fantastic people through networking, who have become friends as well as business contacts.

The Business Dictionary gives this excellent definition of networking: “Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question ‘How can I help?’ and not ‘What can I get?’.

It is easy to spend a small fortune on networking and hard to evaluate the ROI for your business, so it’s important to get the most out of every meeting you attend.

Following these Top Tips can help you get the most out of your networking.

Tip 1.  Try before you buy

If you are new to networking, go to a few different meetings to get a feel for which seem right for you. There is so much choice out there it can seem rather daunting, so try thinking about:

  1. Was the meeting well attended?
  2. Were you made to feel welcome?
  3. Is the location right?
  4. Is there a membership fee or is it ‘pay as you go’?

It makes sense to attend a meeting at least twice before deciding whether to continue going regularly. Networking groups that require you to pay a membership subscription generally allow a visitor to attend a couple of times before joining.

Tip 2 will be posted tomorrow

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