The networking experience
Later this afternoon, I’m off to a networking event run by Business Link London. You might think it would be small time and not worth going to, but one I went to earlier in the year resulted in a very enjoyable business association that will be keeping me quite busy during the next few months. You can’t argue with that.
Although Business Link are at pains to point out that networking is not about selling, it hasn’t stopped them from introducing silly gimmicks like ‘speed networking’ which to my mind simply encourages people to spout ‘elevator pitches’ at one another. To any normal human being they are artificial and stressful, and quite against anything I understand networking to be about. I hope to find an escape route from that ordeal.
Many people come to networking events expecting to connect with people who are looking for their services right there and then. But this is short sighted. The best referrals often come by people referring you to others in their network. Even when you have directly connected with someone, the third party endorsement will count for more. (I have recent direct experience of this in more than one networking group.)
Andy Lopata is an expert in networking. This video is the most concise guide to getting quality third party referrals that I have come across. It explains what networking is really meant to do and where it scores over cold calling.
If you want to talk through how you can communicate your value proposition in the course of a conversation, get in touch and I’ll be happy to offer some suggestions that will get you started.