Networking is as much an attitude and a way of thinking as it is a skill. It is something that many people do naturally while others can find it quite daunting; but it can be learnt. When you acquire the mindset and master the skill of networking you will boost your personal productivity.There are any number of different networking groups and events that you could choose to attend to help lift the profile of your home based business. To make the most effective use of your time and energy, it’s worth investing effort in identifying and sampling groups that look like they might suit your personal and business needs – here’s how:
Choose the network.
Decide what you’re looking for from a networking group and ask around. Find out what groups are available and ask for recommendations and opinions from people you respect.
Contact the network.
Phone the organiser of the group or event and ask questions such as these to help you decide whether this is a good place to invest your time.
- What types of people attend this event?
- What industries are represented at this event?
- How long has it been established?
- What three words best describe this group?
- Is there an opportunity to promote my business?
- Does this network have membership?
- If so, how does it work? What does it cost?
Visit twice before deciding to join.
Allow yourself at least two opportunities to evaluate the network and to decide whether it is worth your time and energy. Sometimes your first experience may not be pleasant, and you may feel nervous, so give it at least two tries.
Commit to the events.
When you do find a network you enjoy, schedule the time to attend and become one of the regulars. This is a great way to establish connections with people as well as to let others get to know you.
Volunteer to help – serving on a committee or helping with an event is a great way to get to know people: help on registration, collect business cards, offer to be the MC or help to arrange an event.