Networking is a buzzword that spans across all industries, and one that you’ve likely heard so many times that it’s beginning to lose all meaning.
If you’ve forgotten what networking really means and why it’s important for you and/or your business, let’s get back to basics. Networking is all about interacting with like-minded individuals. It’s often used as a tool to build contacts, learn from others who have a specific set of skills, or to advance one’s career.
Now that we’ve covered what networking means, let’s get to why you should be doing it on a regular basis:
- It’s often inexpensive (and sometimes free!).
- You may learn something that can help you improve one or many facets of your career or business.
- You’ll be able to pick the brains of experienced professionals in your field. This is especially helpful for entrepreneurs who are just starting out and could benefit from the perspective of a seasoned veteran or two.
- Networking events tend to be more relaxed and discussion-oriented. Instead of having someone speak at you, you’ll have many people speaking with you.
- You’ll be given the opportunity to collect business cards from your peers and distribute many of your own, drumming up business and building your database of valuable contacts in the process.
- You’ll be able to engage in a dialogue with others who are interested in the same topic(s) as you are…not to mention just as eager to learn and grow!
- Professionals often leave networking events with a renewed energy, determined to succeed at their latest personal or business-related task .
- Planned events usually have a fun social aspect, so you’ll be able to mix work with a bit of leisure time.
If your idea of networking involves creating a Linkedin profile, it’s probably time to branch out. Make an effort to research networking events planned for professionals in your field (or related fields), whether in your local area or out of town. The rewards could be endless.
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