In the first part of her two part series with Studio 42, Jo gave some tips on how to engage in effective networking… but why even bother networking at all?
Beginning, developing and staying in business is all about getting and serving new clients. No matter what industry you’re in, it’s highly likely you need to have some way to generate new leads, connections and clients. Funnels, landing pages, strategic partnerships, FacebookAds…I’m sure you’re all over it!
Then, when confiding in some friends over a coffee about wanting some new leads, a voice chuckles, “I just picked up three new clients at a networking event! – you just need to be networking more!”
“Forget all that other stuff…put yourself out there more.”
REALLY? THAT’S ALL I NEED TO DO???
Because I’ve done that…I’ve sat and checked out Eventbrite and googled ‘business networking events near me’ and signed up and gone to multiple events, and it didn’t turn into three new clients!!!
Clearly, that isn’t ALL I have to do!
Networking is about growing the number of people you know and who know you! As the infamous quote goes:
“It’s not what you know, but who you know!”
But why is this important? Is it all about having an extensive network? Or should you strive for a diverse network? Do you need to know the people in your network well?
And I would suggest that the answer is yes to all of these questions. However, not every connection will serve each of these areas equally. Imagine more of concentric circles with you in the middle. Then you have your core network surrounding you. This is the inner sanctum. These people you trust implicitly. They are made up of a variety of characters who support and champion you, including:
the cheerleader who always encourages you on,
the therapist who lets you vent, keeps you sane and keeps things in perspective,
the dreamer who enables you to think bigger
the pragmatist who stops you getting too carried away with dreams!
In the next circle, there are people who you know well and trust to use and recommend in business. This trust is essential as when you put a name forward, it reflects on you if they don’t follow up or worse do a poor job! This tends to be the main group you tap into. You happily and regularly connect to, seek the advice of and can call on these people without too much concern that they may have forgotten your name!
Beyond this circle are people who you don’t know as well. Maybe you see less of them now than before – former colleagues, old school friends. This group also contains the people you have met briefly or are a friend of a friend. This group is interesting as it can include some real nuggets of gold – someone who knows that elusive ‘big gun’ you’ve been dying to meet!
I actually got invited to the 2017 Melbourne Cup’s main sponsors marquee in the ‘birdcage’ area of the track, when at a dealership buying a car as the company I worked for were working on a deal with them. Through my conversation with the salesman, we talked about my work, then months later, he clocked the name during a team briefing and rang me to offer amazing tickets!
Gaining connections is good, but nurturing relationships is essential if you want to move someone from an outer circle inwards… or yourself into the inner circle of someone else!
About the Author
Jo is an educator. She worked in Educational Leadership for over 15 years in government primary schools in Australia and the UK. Her personal experience of toxic workplaces, mental health issues and eventually her ‘burnout’, gave rise to a new form of education for Jo. She now shares her knowledge speaking on stage nationally and works with companies on their teams and leadership skills to address mental health within the workplace, engage employees and promote a culture where the people of the business are put up front and centre. Jo believes that the truly successful businesses of the future will be those that know how to create meaningful relationships and connections with their staff and customers – that put people first!