Founder But the Books
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How I learned to stop worrying and love networking

19th Aug 2019
Founder But the Books
Columnist
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Toasting a marshmallow over an open flame
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If you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d gladly pay to spend a weekend networking in a field, I would have laughed at you. Last month though, that’s exactly what I did.

I packed up my family and we set up home in a yurt as part of a micro business retreat. It was a combination of networking, workshops and family time with a focus on getting our businesses ready for the second part of the year. In our downtime, we sang campfire songs, toasted marshmallows, and even squeezed in some Pilates. 

I enjoy networking now, but there was a time when I’d rather sit in a corner checking my emails than start a conversation. It’s only since starting my own business that I’ve appreciated the power of getting to know people and building a network.

It’s helped me get my business known and trusted, it’s helped me meet new clients, learn from people I simply wouldn’t have met otherwise and it’s even led to PR opportunities. I’ve also learnt that networking can just be a really nice way to spend some time connecting with people, rather than being something I have to do for work.

I love to meet people but I’ve always thought of myself as being much better one-on-one than in a room full of people. I’ve had to learn to love networking and some simple strategies and rules have made me get the most out of each event.

Network in groups you like

Knowing my networking days were numbered, I spent my heavily pregnant spring attending every networking group I’d ever heard of. I went to a very busy breakfast networking, I went to evening drinks to trial an exclusive membership group, I took my daughter to a networking group with other mums, and I went along to talks and technical updates with networking built into the agenda.

The most important thing to consider when choosing any networking event is whether it’s going to get you in front of your ideal client, but if you want to love networking, you need to enjoy spending time with the people in that room too. I’ve chosen a couple of networking groups which have great communities which I really enjoy being a part of.

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