“We might not know we are seeking people who best enrich our lives, but somehow on a deep subconscious level we absolutely are.”
Many people are of the mistaken belief that networking is simply attending an industry event once in a while or jumping on to their LinkedIn account to see what everyone is up to.
While these are great strategies, they’re pretty pointless all on their own.
You see what great networkers do well is look beyond online and networking events. They incorporate networking into their day to day life. It just comes naturally.
I’m blessed to have a diverse network of friends and the more we chat, the more I realise how much we all rely on networks and networking but don’t even realise we’re doing it.
Here are three examples of ‘non-traditional’ networking for you to have a think about.
A good friend from school (yes, 26 years later we’re still very close!) just got back from a trip to Cannes for work. I’m not jealous. I’m NOT jealous. I’m NOT JEALOUS. She’s in the film and advertising industry and was there to entertain clients as of course, it’s THE place to be during a European summer. This traditionally might sit under the banner of corporate or client hospitality but it’s also networking. She developed the relationships within her current networks and extended her connections even more with all the overseas industry people she met.
Another friend has just completed her sommelier certification and qualifications. A few years ago when she was travelling in California, she made a point of going to the wineries and introducing herself. These contacts are invaluable to her now and she couldn’t have achieved that through email or phone alone. A fantastic impromptu form of networking that is still paying dividends.
A relative was retrenched recently. Not unusual in this economy and challenging employment market. Following the news, she made sure she caught up with ex-colleagues and employers touching base to tell them what she was looking for in her next role. Yes, it took a little while to find the right next step but when it did, personal recommendations played a big part. It’s important to never burn those bridges. You just never know when you’ll need those connections in your networking journey.
So have a look at your existing circles and think about how you can ‘network’ with them. Here’s some more tips on how to make networking part of your everyday life.
Take a look at that side-line at the kids’ soccer match on Saturday. Your future boss could be there shouting at the referee.
Are you part of a club or community group? Get to know people beyond your common interest and you’d be surprised what you may find. Another client perhaps?
Join special interest groups on social media. Parenting Facebook groups such as North Shore Mums are a hive of activity and have some serious connected reach!
Catch up with your neighbours. Not only is a neighbourly thing to do but chatting about more than just bin night could prove to be quite fruitful. Once you know what line of work they’re in, you can refer business to them and vice versa
So step beyond the wall of the networking cocktail party or that breakfast presentation. Keep your eyes and ears open constantly for networking opportunities cunningly disguised as ….life!
How about a Lunch & Learn session to further explore you’re networking skills and development? Learn more in a relaxed and fun environment. Click here for more information.