Why I love networking
I confess, I love networking and talking to a friend I realise I’ve been getting jobs via networking for a very long time.
The first job I ever got from “networking” was a Saturday job in café when I was doing my O levels (O levels – ooh that dates me!) A friend worked behind the counter in the café and knew they want someone to help clearing the tables.
Now clearing tables wasn’t my dream job but after one week I was promoted to working behind the counter and I stayed in the job until I left for university. I learnt an awful lot about customer service in my time there, something that stood me in good stead in other jobs.
The next job I got from networking was that of tour guide at university showing prospective students around on open days. It really was the easiest job ever but again I only got to hear about it because I knew someone who was already doing it and they recommended me to the person in charge.
Later in life I was temping at a large insurer. How did I end up working there full time – because of what we call networking and finding out about a full time position.
So skip forward a few (well quite lot of years to be honest) years…..
I love to network and its where the vast majority of my work comes from, either directly from the people I meet or they recommend me to others.
Why does networking work for me?
- I’m consistent. Even when I’m busy with the paying work, I still make time to network. People aren’t always ready to buy when you first meet them, but by being a consistent attendee when they are ready I’m there. In one case, I’d been networking with someone for two years before they needed me. But it’s the second project they’ve booked me for since they got to the buying stage.
- I follow up. So if someone gives me a business card, I will either drop them an email or connect with them on Linkedin, Twitter etc. And if I’ve said I’ll look into something for them, I do. Even if it’s to say, yes it can be done but it will cost a lot! People know they can rely on me.
- I give stuff away for free. No not pens and pads (though those of you who do that are very kind) but knowledge. There’s a temptation when have expertise in a field not to give away any of the things you know for free and to charge for everything but I’ve found that by helping people out with a small thing means they turn to me for the big things too. It has established my reputuation as a friendly, helpful and knowledgeable person. Which translates into people wanting me to work on projects with them.
So if you’re wondering about networking, I say do it. You some times have to try a few groups before you find the ones that work for you. I love The Business Woman’s Network