I know a lot of people who really dislike the idea and concept of networking. For many, it’s not just the social interaction that is uncomfortable, it’s also the perception that it’s a ‘hard sell’ exchange of details and to grab as many business cards as you can. I’ve been to networking in New York, within the events industry and it initially feels like a ‘hard sell’, however, generally the New Yorkers and actually most US cousins are very good at it.
We Brits (and Aussies and Europeans) are generally more reserved about it and don’t like the pressured situation. Having said that, any business event and sadly in my case, any social event(!) is another ‘networking’ opportunity.
The definitions of networking vary, however essentially it is through meeting other business people to exchange information, seek opportunities and extended introductions all with the purpose of developing and gaining business. (For interesting additional information on networking skills check out Entrepeneur.com)
I attended with my colleagues this week, an event industry association summer AGM event, with networking thrown in. Held at House of Barnabas in Soho, gathered in the pretty, but chilly garden, in our great British Summer(!) I was reminded how useful networking is, from our recently joined team members to guys like me who have been around a while, I still made new useful contacts, saw old faces and clients that we hadn’t seen for some time. Overall it was very useful, and full of opportunities. We had a stylish 1920’s Ice Vase displayed with engraved logos and topped with a pyramid of strawberries, to fit the theme. It was received well and allowed us to ‘network’ with anyone who was showing interest in the creation.
So on balance, to those that aren’t too sure, my simple advice is to make friends, talk about ice, the up and coming Olympics, business levels, road closures, logistics challenges and exchange information. It’s got to be positive, don’t you think?