I am so busy; is Networking worth the time?
“Is networking a necessary part of my schedule if I am not in the sales department or head of my company?” That is a question that comes up frequently in conversation. Working women have so many responsibilities and so little time. Efficiency dictates that we must manage time well and cut the fat. Is networking an event to cut?
My resounding answer is NO!
Networking; especially for women, can be the lifeblood of a lifelong career. What I mean is networking creates connection with other business people. These connections, these relationships, can grow to serve you very well over time. They may not be immediately obvious, but, when you are in a situation where you need the ally of another business person (i.e. job change, crisis, marketing partner, wise advice) your network can be your saving grace.
I find that women, more than men, have to be taught the value in networking for business. Now I know that this is not universally true but men tend to network naturally as their occupation is often the core role in their lives. Women however tend to have many roles to juggle. Usually we find it easy to network for family support, but may not be as comfortable with business networking. Also many networking events, hosted by a Chamber of Commerce or other organization, are often after work hours. For those managing the family schedule, attendance may be challenging. Generally, I find women have a more difficult process seeing value in networking and hence need to make it even more of a priority to serve them well.
Business networking is all about connecting with other business people and adding value to their lives. It’s not what you get; it’s want you give that builds trust, respect and appreciation. Pearl Galbraith
3 Commandments for Networking Success
Look for ways to help. Teach a class, volunteer, share your knowledge.
People like to do business, and like to refer people, they like, trust and respect.
Networking is all about marketing “YOU”. Be unique. Be memorable. Be remarkable.
The best part about Networking is you can start anytime. If your company has business organization membership already, ask to participate. If not, find a local organization, Chamber of Commerce or business group and make contact. Ask other colleagues for their recommendation on what groups would compliment you and your business. Attend several events to get the sense of the organization that fits your personality, lifestyle and the business objectives. Then make a commitment to consistently participate.
Networking is not a passive activity. It takes your consistent, focused, and engaged effort. For some really great tips to get started refer to Strategic Business Network for advice.
You never know what doors can open for you with a simple “hello”.