I’ve been building my network for about a year now, really throwing myself into the community and trying to shout about what I’m doing in Manchester. A year on and I feel like I’ve finally started to build a community around me.
Don’t take me wrong, it hasn’t happened over night, but going from knowing two people, to being able to arrange dinners and nights out makes a huge difference to, not only your confidence, but also what you can achieve.
So, what I’m really writing about today, is not how to network, but why to network.
It’s obvious I hear you say, to build connections with people that will one day be able to help you out, to grow your business, to earn extra dollar (or pounds should I say?)
I disagree. On one level you’ll always get the people who are out networking for money driven goals, of course. But go to the right networking event, and your whole outlook on the purpose of networking will really change.
A successful networking event is one where you leave knowing more about other attendees than they do about you.
It’s counter-intuitive to a lot of people, but understanding those around you, what they want to accomplish, what they want to achieve, knowing what they have to say is more valuable to you and your career than shouting from the rafters about the newest website you’ve just launched.
Why is this important?
Because networking is about building valuable friendships and connections, not just letting people know how great you are. Some of my closest friends and people I trust, are those who I’ve met through networking at various events.
These are the people I know I can count on to help me out when things get tough and who will be there with a glass of wine whether things are going great or I’m breaking down over deadlines.
The community you can build around yourselves through networking, is literally invaluable. I meet people and I want to help people, and more often than not I help people through meeting more people (how many times cam I say people in one sentence?) Use the avenues around you to start conversations, it doesn’t have to be in the flesh, but use social media to nudge people into remembering the conversation you’ve had. Tweet them if they mentioned something to you, talking can happen in more ways than one in this day and age.
If you’re willing to take the time to meet new faces, to listen to what they have to say the rest will naturally follow. You’ll soon have a community around you that supports you as much as you support them. You’ll be able to throw help in their faces and they’ll do the same thing for you. It’s a knock on effect of good deeds, but it all starts with a tap on the shoulder and a hearty “Hello!”
So thank you Manchester for helping me meet so many amazing people.
And don’t worry introverts, I’ll soon be writing a blog on how I’ve found getting out there as someone who’s on the quieter side…