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While it is always best to consider networking as a collaborative activity, where a win/win is the best outcome. There are benefits that you can gain from networking that help you develop both yourself and your business.
When you are part of a motivated and dynamic networking group, there is plenty of opportunities for business. This directly creates a sense of improved wellbeing and confidence, because what you are doing is working and tangible benefits result from your activities.
An opportunity in this context is not necessarily just more business, but it could be a collaboration of some kind, such as a joint-venture or partnership.
The key is to be in a position to take up the offer and to see it for what it is, a chance to expand your business, skills or network. They are all valuable, in their own right.
Think for a moment how many people you know, both personally and in business. Now imagine that each of them knows just as many people. It no time, you can see that you have access to a network of thousands of people, in fact, a pyramid
The same is true for those you meet at networking events; you are joining a network of thousands of people.
Make those connections, create those long-term relationships. It is, after all, the only way this will ultimately be personally beneficial to you.
Now consider, that the larger your network, the more valuable you become to others, as you know people in many industries; walks of life and that helps you, because you can help others. Think about the potential from those interactions.
Networking when done well, forces you to not only understand your products and services, but to understand yourself. The better you can understand yourself, the easier it is to interact in an honest and genuine way with others.
The intention is to build a long-term relationship. This, in turn, will allow you to build your confidence. Interacting with people at all levels of business; ages and other variables makes it easier to talk with others.
As your confidence builds, by talking with new contacts, you can connect with them as individuals helping them more easily. It becomes a nice steppingstone to public speaking and other career enhancing activities.
One of the easiest things to do at a networking event is to share knowledge. This might be your insight into current events that have an impact on the general business community.
It might also be something sector or industry specific that is only applicable to a few people, but this sharing of knowledge puts you in a position of being helpful.
The flipside is that, you are open to learning from other people. So, perhaps they have an experience that is useful to you at the moment. This is often true when people are new to networking or to their current style of business, such as entrepreneurs.
Be as willing to share as you are to receive. Knowledge when shared, helps everyone to grow personally and professionally.
Just with knowledge, ideas are something to freely trade at networking. If you have built-up a long-term relationship with your peers, then they will be there for you to bounce ideas off. They will do the same with you.
It is this interaction that enables you to take your idea and turn it into something new, something real.
Your connections are also a useful source of new ideas, goals and challenges. They can help you stay honest, if you are prone to drifting off topic when it comes to following through with goals.
As your network grows and you get to know more and more people, you will become trusted by your networking peers. At this point, your opinions, experience and ideas begin to become more important.
It is now that you start to influence others in your networking group. This too is where your personality shines through.
If you are a positive person who smiles, then you will begin to instil that in others. If you are dour and unhappy, that too will come across and spread throughout the network.
As you become a core part of the network, you begin to influence the group as a whole, so use that power for good and make the group better, by being the positive influence you want to see in others.
By meeting a diverse group of people, from different businesses, industries and backgrounds, you will have new perspectives open up to you. This can help with refining your marketing and sales. It can also help you understand other people in new ways.
Having a fresh perspective on what you do and how you do it can be invaluable, not just when looking for new opportunities, but when looking to grow yourself, as a person.
Each time we interact with a new networker, we have the possibility of expanding our world view and from this change, a chance to grow.
Embrace these interactions to understand yourself better. This will, in turn, help you to be successful as that was the whole object of networking in the first place, which was to help you sell more of your products and services.
Last and by no means least, you can meet people networking who will turn into personal friends. People who know you deeply and will be there for you when life’s storms rage through.
When such people enter your life, embrace them and enjoy the journey.
Remember, the first goal of networking was to create long-term relationships, so why would you be surprised if some of them became personal friends.
Whilst it is not our goal, however, as with opportunities, grab them with both hands.
While we normally consider only the business aspects of networking, we should consider what you, the individual, can gain.
The list above is by no means comprehensive and it would take only seconds to add more to this list. I think it shows that all activities that help us in business can help us personally as well.
Your Sales Dept can help formalize a networking system, so you can spend more time making it work for you and less time worrying about the mechanisms. If you want to see how we can help you, contact me today and let’s get those business and personal benefits rolled out sooner rather than later.