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)

  • Heather

    Good blog – and totally agree with you. You get out what you put in. It’s also about making sure you are visible to the right people who can make a difference to your business or career. That takes research & some thinking about who you want to meet and why you want to meet them.

  • Ann Hawkins

    Brilliant! Research who is going to be there – nothing like being able to say, “I had a look at your website before I came out and it’s great” 
    Soooooooooooooooooooooooo much better than the lazy “What do you do?” opening line. 

    I also love the idea of making sure you talk to people you’ve not met before. After all if you’re making the most of your networking you’ll already be connected to the people you DO know on-line so you won’t need to cling to them at every event. 

    Can I just mention (I know I bang on about this all the time) the importance of having a really good picture of your face on your on-line networking sites. I’m not going to recognise your kids, hubby, dog or kitten but it would be really nice to say, “You’re xxx, aren’t you? I’ve been looking forward to meeting you.”