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:
And that’s just in one week.
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:
Online networking is valuable because:
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.
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.
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© Sara-Jayne Donaldson, 2013-2021.