What’s the Point of Networking?
My thoughts on this question – and there are as many viewpoints as there are networkers – are that networking can provide support, learning and connection for business owners, along with occasional opportunities for collaboration. The 2 networks I currently belong to have been great for this. What seems to work less well, I have observed, is treating the network like a sales opportunity. [In one network, there’s a pest who can regularly be seen pinning newcomers to the wall with his hard sale on expensive and irrelevant products. A colleague confided recently, ‘I hate that guy!’ Probably not the outcome he’s looking for…]
Most people are familiar with the Urgency/Importance quadrant tool. It occurs to me that for some people – including me at times – networking falls firmly into the non-urgent, non-important section [quadrant 4], along with surfing the net and daytime TV. Nothing wrong with that. Yet at it’s best, networking comes squarely into the ‘non – urgent but important’ quadrant . This is arguably the most significant area for your business. The area of clarity, connection, ingenuity and bright ideas that you were probably experiencing when you were motivated to create your business.
So what makes the difference? In my world it’s quite subtle and not entirely under my control. One event might feel superficial and lacking in any particular connection, while the next week/month the conversations are inspiring and insightful.
Networking seems to be more relevant and important to me when I turn up without any agenda so that I can really listen to and engage with the people I meet. If I have very little on my mind, insightful questions occur. If I show up with a ‘How can I be helpful?’ attitude, very interesting things can happen. Often the best connections are made during the coffee and conversation after the event.
One of the business services I offer is to create the space to be in mindset of clarity, ingenuity and inspiration – the not-urgent but important quadrant. During February, it has occurred to me to offer 3 of my networking connections, in real life or online, a session devoted to brainstorming, planning, dreaming and getting clear. It will be a complimentary stand alone session, focussing on that crucial yet often neglected aspect of business. What if your best business ideas are yet to come?
The offer stands until the 3 spots are taken or the end of February. If this is of interest please do get in touch. Contact details below.