Liz Weston on … the power of networking

Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s a waste of time. Networking is great – but here’s the caveat: you get out of it what you put into it. I was criticised a while ago for telling people to not meet up with others that they knew outside a networking event – that they had to go in, go for it and have a go on their own. But I stand by it. Go in, and have a go. What’s the worst that can happen?

I was talking to Wendy Howell, who has launched Design Essentials, through networking and getting out there, this evening. I’ve reflected on our conversation and realised that from one small networking meeting – the Business Studio, I’ve now met an entirely new group of women that I wouldn’t have previously known, taken on 3 client projects and made some friendships I very much hope will still be going when we’re old and wrinkly.

Yes, it’s been that good. And no, there’s no “secret sauce” to these outcomes. But I have done the following:
- researched people on the attendance list before I set foot out of the house
- ensured I attended with something interesting to say about myself and my work
- put my game face on – and walked in, with my opening line ready, with the purpose of meeting someone I’ve not met before. My line is usually, something about whether they’ve attended before, who else they know that’s attending or “are you new? welcome to the group, we all had to have a first time here at some point…”

I think that if we took time to do more networking, we’d be surprised with what the outcomes are. If we do it properly. Not in a rush, like this quickly put together blog post ;)

What are your experiences of networking? Good? Bad? Tips for others?

*Image credit to  (fabulous site, btw)

Liz Weston on… being 1 of the 25 Most Influential People in the Cambridge Business Community

Did you hear? I’m one of the Ones to Watch – 1 of the 25 Most Influential People in the Cambridge Business Community. I’m very flattered by this, and didn’t even know I’d been entered, let alone chosen, until this afternoon!

I’ll be at a reception at the Doubletree in the city on September 11 where the top three will be named. I very much doubt I’ll be one of them but it’s great news that a woman, and a young one at that, has been chosen for this. That it’s me, is an added bonus!

Just to clarify though, as you always need to when featured in the blessed media, my working in a hospital and cleaning, and the banana packing job were summer jobs when I was 18! Those quotes were provided as part of an interview I gave to the Cambridge Evening News months ago. It sounds like I was doing it last week!!! And I’d like to re assure my clients that I’m not moonlighting by packing banana’s at the weekends ;)

In all seriousness though, I’m really pleased with this. It shows that being persistent,
a positive networker – someone who introduces people to each other and shares their address book readily and looks for opportunities to “pay it forward” is a good thing.

What are you doing to make yourself influential and useful to people in your business community?