The Value of Networking

 

woman, networking, social media, network

I’ve had a busy few days. Not all of it gainful employment. There’s been work, sample edits, coursework and piddling about reading work blogs when I should have been working. You get the drift.

I like being busy (to be honest I’ve forgotten how to relax), and of course, like all independent professionals, I have times when work is slow. But I always have something to do – coursework, CPD, reading work blogs, avoiding housework – and there’s always networking.

While I may not always have the chance for face-to-face networking, I do try to get myself out there, and there are always online opportunities. If you live in an area where there is a decent-sized population, or if you can easily get to one, you really have no excuses … network!

I used to think that networking was not for me, all schmoooooze, handshakes and dodgy suits. But once I realised that if I dress how I like, I feel more comfortable and behave more like myself (perhaps with a bit more nervous verbal diarrhoea than usual), then networking isn’t so bad. And if you network online you don’t even have that problem … pull on a jumper over your jimjams and Bob’s your Uncle.

Now, if I have a networking opportunity I try my very best to attend. You never know when a fleeting contact will turn into a friend for life, or a valuable business contact.

This week, past networking has paid off in the following ways:

  1. I quoted for a few jobs that came through from someone seeing my profile online
  2. I am working on a few projects for a regular client I was introduced to long time ago via an old mentor (he marked one of my professional examinable projects)
  3. I chatted with a colleague on a matter that may have saved us both a lot of time
  4. I managed to, hopefully, pass over some work I didn’t have time for to another editor in my network.
  5. I managed to help a friend I met via a business networking event
  6. I carried out some work for someone I met at the same networking event a few years ago.

And that’s just in one week.

Businessman Giving out Card --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

The value of networking is immense. While it may not always give immediate results, that business card you handed out, that chat to a suit in a crowded room or that nervous talk to a room full of strangers can, in time, work wonders. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day (and neither were corny clichés).

Physical networking is valuable because:

  1. It gets you away from your desk
  2. It puts faces to a names – online is great but it’s nice to meet people in person
  3. It pushes you out of your comfort zone (we can get too complacent and forget what the real world is like)
  4. It gives you the chance to give away your carefully crafted business cards, and marvel at the cards of other professionals
  5. It gives you the opportunity to get known, get your name out there and be remembered.

Online networking is valuable because:

  1. Not everyone can physically get to networking events
  2. You can network with people in different geographical areas, different time zones and it’s easy to dip your toes into different types of networking
  3. You can network when it is convenient to you, in your comfy clothes and with a nice mug of tea to keep you calm
  4. It’s an easy way to network if you are painfully shy or socially awkward
  5. It gives you the opportunity to get known, get your name out there and be remembered.

There are very few drawbacks to networking too, although it can be costly if you have to go away to meetings or join a Chamber of Commerce or the like. But you have to see these as costs towards business opportunities in the future.  Just choose your physical networking types according to what will work best for you. Budget for networking then if you see an opportunity you can jump at it.

happy editor, world, social media, networking

Most of all remember – what goes around comes around. Get working, help those in your network and stay visible. You never know when it might pay off.

 

 

14 thoughts on “The Value of Networking

  1. I can not support this more, get out be seen help and in return you will be helped. sometimes you put your heart and soul into a thing that dies, never mind you learnt a lot of stuff doing it.

  2. Dear Word Wizard, you are so right. And yet I find it so painful, mainly for my inability to sell myself. But I am trying to push myself out of my comfort zone so I am glad I just read this post.

    • Ah Claudia, I find it awfully painful too. The only way I manage it is to be myself, don’t think about it as selling myself and just take it as an opportunity to meet new people. You find out about them, they find out about you and it’s still networking. Hopefully along the way contacts are made that will remember you.

  3. Until recently I took a more old school approach in an attempt to get my name out, I would go to local venus and hand out business cards, make posters etc. I’ve only been trying for a week to gain some sort of online freelance work but yet to hear back from anyone. I think I’m going to do a mixture of the two, spread my name online and continue to blog about some of the funnier experiences I have had attempting to get work. Thanks for the advice!

  4. Pingback: Layout of the Index: Run-in vs. Indented Styles - Potomac Indexing, LLC

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