Business Networking is everywhere. Groups are in abundance in most towns, cities and rural areas. In fact, if you wanted to be in a Networking meeting for all your main meals of the day, it’s completely possible and you could double book yourself if you so desired!
The term Networking can broadly be described as referring to a group of people who have interconnected interests. Where formal Networking for business dates back to, is a research job for someone with far more time on their hands than I, but Business Networking in more recent years has exploded. Why?
There are a number of reasons for this and certainly as human beings, many of our social needs, including making friends, gaining a support system, feelings of acceptance in a group and as an individual, can be met.
Systems of this nature exist everywhere and have done for time immemorial. Think of churches, school committees, sport teams, families, etc. As a Sociologist, social behaviour is deeply fascinating for me and Networking Groups offer us much to learn about the human condition and how we behave and learn to behave in order to experience some of the social benefits described above, namely acceptance.
But Business Networking gives us even more than this social amber nectar. It is accelerated marketing at it’s absolute best, that when done well meets our needs socially, individually and professionally. A sub group is created that involves trusted relationships whereby people can work together in a supportive, collaborative and mutually beneficial way. Powerful stuff isn’t it?
To not incorporate networking into your marketing strategy because of the cost or the time or because you don’t like groups, try and step back and remember what you gain by attending. When people feel over whelmed by the sheer choice of what meetings to attend, I always say, go to as many meetings as your time and purse/wallet can stand for no more than three months. Then find the group that will meet your needs on all the levels described (as much as is possible) and stay there. Make a commitment, turn up at every opportunity, get involved with the organisers, find speakers, deliver speaking sessions and bring new people. In other words, become part of the fabric that makes that group what it is and you will benefit tenfold. What is on offer, as described above, is gold for us social beings and all the needs that we have to function in a society.
So go and build your social and professional network and go and flourish!