Is networking all a pile of bull?

Is networking all a pile of bull?

I used to cringe a little bit when I first started going to networking events many years ago.  I felt like a bit of a numpty.  Walking into a room to strut my stuff, walk the walk and talk the talk.  Was it all just a bit fake?  A bunch of people in a room all after something for themselves.  Was networking just a pile of bull?  Would I be stuck next to a sleazy dude in a cheap suit with all talk no action.  In that case it’s time for a sharp exit to the bar (ditching his business card in the bin on route). 

I have been to SO many networking events over the years.  I have hosted plenty too.  With me what you see if what you get.  I treat everyone the same, take it or leave it.  It’s just the way I am and I can’t change that.  I have been to some great events and hosted some too (my fashion show at The Bonham hotel will go down in history with all my old, wonderful clients).  I have also been to some events that were lacking atmosphere and a little bit dull.

Things are different these days as I am not networking on behalf of a company that someone else owns. I now chose to go networking for myself and  I do it for the following reasons:

  • To learn from inspirational, hard working and determined people
  • To tell people about my book and my blog
  • To collaborate with and help others
  • To promote mental wellness and help to make people feel normal

Last Thursday I was a little nervous getting ready to head to a networking event.  Should I drive or go and enjoy some cocktails to “break the ice”.  My husband replied

“You don’t need to drink, you are a natural at this type of thing”.

I am not sure if he was getting carried away as it had just been national compliment day.  I needed to hear it though because although some think I am a natural, there was no denying that I was stepping out of my comfort zone and fluffy slippers for that matter.  My new lucky Zadig and Voltaire  boots would hopefully sort me out.

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These boots are made for networking

Off I trotted to see what type of event Orlaith from The Naked sales coach would put on.  Would it be fab or a bit dull? Luckily for me the event totally surpassed my already fairly high expectations (I really like her facebook page – business is beautiful)

Everyone was lovely.  The chat was great (phew).  In fact, on meeting Orlaith she instantly introduced me to an author who has published 4 books.  That girl is on the ball.  She is as her strapline suggests: authentically awesome.

I also spoke to so many amazing women who are clearly passionate about what they do.  I’ve got an exciting project with a couple of them in the diary #watchthisspace.

There was an open mic session (not the singing type I am used to taking part in).  I ain’t gonna lie, I was only half a cocktail in so felt a bit shaky.  Such a great way to find out about others in the room though.

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Totally bricking it 

One thing I now understand about business is that it’s so important to collaborate and help people.  Business doesn’t have to be selfish.  Yes – we need to work hard to progress and smash our own goals but when we help others it’s always a really positive thing. If you are always out to get something, you are not truly networking with people.  I normally go by my gut feeling on that one if it’s all take, take.  Also – you really are only interesting if you are interested.  So don’t go to a networking event if you are not interested in hearing about others.

So to answer my question – is networking all a pile of bull?

It depends who you are speaking to.  I think networking is great.  It’s important to get out of the comfort zone and  go and talk to people.  Be it over coffee, cocktails, food or at a conference.  Perhaps you can go and network over a play date with the kids.  Get out and meet people.   There is only so much you can learn from behind your laptop.

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Zoe from the fab MacFit and I enjoying a cocktail

Thanks Orlaith for a fab night.  The cocktails were bang on too #bonus.  I’ll be back.

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  1. February 3, 2017 / 1:03 am

    This is fab you might have persuaded me to try, I always worry I’ll not be as interesting or businesslike enough as everyone else!

    • February 3, 2017 / 8:16 am

      Awe no way you are amazing and need to share your talent. I still talk about the party all the time and shared the article again just the other day. Think you would enjoy the events x

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