Networking is a huge part of my job, as is the case for most entrepreneurs. There is a lot to be said for the six degrees of separation theory, I often find through networking that I come across people who know a friend or colleague.
Networking is one of those skills that I think takes time to build, the thought of making small talk can be intimidating at first, but I find you get from networking what you put in. It doesn’t have to be done in a cold meeting room in a business-focused hotel, in fact I think the LinkedIn feature that shows how closely you are connected to people is excellent for creating a talking point between you and someone you’re affiliated with, but don’t necessarily know.
With experience under my belt, I tend to gravitate towards likeminded people anyway but LinkedIn can help you have the confidence to make the first step. It is just a starting point though, once you’ve connected you need to build on the relationship face-to-face for it to be truly valuable. But why is it so important to meet with people with common interests in business?
- They can offer guidance: Every now and then it’s nice to have someone who is removed from your day-to-day business to ask for advice. Often when we’re in the thick of something it can be hard to look at all options, having someone on hand to guide us is a great asset.
- Speaking a common language: It’s nice to have someone who ‘gets you’ and what you do, it makes it easier when you’re discussing new ideas or trends.
- They inspire us: Successful relationships are two-way, while it’s great to have someone to lean on, it’s also beneficial to have someone who inspires you, these people can help you be the best you can be.
If the idea of networking intimidates you, don’t let it, be brave, jump in feet first it will get easier, the chances are most people will be feeling exactly the same. As a starting point, why not connect with me using the following channels: