Time and Patience

I was out networking last week at The Elvetham Hotel and having been stuck inside in the office for the previous 8 weeks (due to my broken foot) it reminded me how much I really love networking. In fact I was having such a good time meeting people and talking to them I forgot to try the cakes – which I gather were amazing!

During those two hours:

● I spoke to people I knew, people I had never met before, people who had heard of me and those whose names I knew from other contacts.

● I put into practice some of the tips I have previously suggested in these emails, especially when meeting new people – and yes, simply saying “Hello I’m Mel, I don’t think we’ve met before”, accompanied by a smile, really can get a conversation started.

● I met readers – always a highlight for me when I get a spontaneous “Oh yes I get your magazine at home and love to read it.”

● I had some fascinating conversations, one in particular about product photography which took me right back to my corporate marketing days. (In fact if you check out the Hampshire Chamber LinkedIn page they have a short video of the event and you can see me having a very animated conversation waving my hands around, as I am prone to do!)

● Needless to say I also had discussions about the current economic situation, particularly with regard to energy bills – equally challenging for everyone.

● I spoke to people who had many years of experience and those who were just starting out – an abundance of enthusiasm was evident in both age groups.

● I met people I know from Coffee and Connect and others who I think will become “Coffee and Connect people”.

I spent the two hours chatting, smiling, laughing and having fun and left having had such a great time.

But wait a moment, you might be thinking, the one thing I haven’t mentioned is whether I picked up any enquiries for advertising. Well no, I haven’t mentioned that because I don’t expect to walk into a networking event and leave with enquiries.

Of course we go networking because we want to grow our business and ultimately some people I meet networking do become my advertisers, but that is because they have got to know me and my business… over time.

And the most important part of that sentence is “over time”.

Successful networking takes time and patience – people need to get to know you and build confidence and trust in you and the service you provide, so that means you need to attend events regularly.

So, my advice is to find one or two groups where you feel at home and try and attend the majority of their meetings so that over time, the other attendees get to know you and become confident about the service you provide. Then if you do have some spare time you can supplement these core groups with other networking meetings on an ad hoc basis.