Why networking is critical to your success

Karen Tems of The Business Network discusses networking and the benefits it can bring to your business.

Karen Tems“Giving or getting networking skills will get you further, faster. And in this climate, that has to be priceless.” - Julia Hobsbawm, Editorial Intelligence

It’s still a commonly held belief that networking means standing alone at an event, waiting for someone to appear so you can hand over your business card. If that’s your impression, then think again.

According to the networking guru, Julia Hobsbawm, success is based on face-to-face contact, where knowledge is gathered and shared.

At The Business Network, members expand client and supplier connections with the help of valuable introductions. They exchange knowledge with like-minded people from a variety of professions and industries, including physiotherapists, accountants, IT consultants and architects. Each company has the opportunity to take this one step further. They can share their expertise with fellow members by presenting a free educational seminar.

So how do we make the most of networking?

Start with the right attitude. Be positive and generous – the more help and advice you can give, the more you’ll gain in the long run. Remember - don’t try and sell, it will only annoy your fellow members and guests.

Look the part. Perception is important, so dress smartly and people will take you seriously.

Be approachable and interested. Listen and find out what you have in common. You’ll be amazed how this will form the basis of a future business association.

Attend as often as you can. The more people you meet on a regular basis the more likely you are to build effective relationships.

And remember to arrange and accept 1-2-1s after each event. Networking confirms what we already know – that most business comes from direct referral. So don’t miss out – companies really can’t afford to ignore the benefits of networking in these challenging economic times.