Networking is a part of modern business life. As an employee we often have to network within, and outside, the businesses we work in to build relationships that facilitate our jobs.
For business owners networking is even more important, because it is the main way we meet other business people. These may become suppliers, customers or strategic introducers who will (hopefully) refer customers to us.
Whatever the circumstances networking is the start of building, and then maintaining, important relationships.
Most networking is done over refreshments of some description and involves a roomful of people, many of them trying to sell to people they have only just met.
Good networkers know that networking is not about selling – it is about starting a conversation that might, at sometime in the future, lead to business. But there will always be people at a networking event who have not got the memo!
Recently there has been a move away from networking indoors to more outdoors based meetings. For me these are much more fun and are more likely to attact people I will have something in common with.
I love walking and cycling, so networking I can do whilst walking or cycling, with people who like walking and cycling is always going to be a great way to start building profitable business relationships.
Conversations come much more easily when you are not sitting face to face or standing in small groups. It is also easy to move around the group to talk to different people without any awkwardness.
Of course, if there is a coffee and cake stop along the way so much the better!
The best networking event I ever went to was organised by NRG and Raising the Baa. It involved groups of us herding sheep and trying to get them into pens. Some of us were designated as ‘sheep dogs’ and some as ‘farmers’ directing the dogs. It was the BEST fun!
So, if you have the opportunity to try an outdoors networking event – and you love the outdoors – I would really recommend giving it a go. It’s networking, whilst getting fresh air and exercise, with a change of scene from our usual business day.
What’s not to like!