How to Network in 2023
If you are like me and you dread the thought of traditional networking, where elevator pitches and business cards seem to be the most important element, then keep reading!
I have never been a fan of networking, coming from a background in financial services, I have attended many different events over the years, and to be honest, I didn’t enjoy any!
And now I run a networking business! Bonkers hey!
The reason I set up “Peakes” was because I wanted to create change, I wanted to help people network in an anti-networking kind of way! And during 2022, I hosted 14 events and a fantastic retreat in Scotland which did just that.
So don’t worry, if you want to find better ways to meet new people, build genuine relationships which will lead to more business, joint ventures and collaborations, I am here to help!
I am not going to give you points on how to stand, how to act, how to follow up…. There’s 1000s of blogs out there which will tell you that, I want to talk to you about how you can build REAL genuine relationships through networking, not just build up a desk drawer of cards.
1. Network in the right places.
First of all write down the type of event you would like to attend, who will be there, what is your objective? Do you want to meet other Mums, are you looking for a really inclusive & diverse group of people, do you want it to be male or female only, over 40s, or under 25s? By doing this, you will have a really clear idea of what you are looking for, and you will know what type of events to avoid. There is no point spending your valuable time attending an event, where you won’t meet like minded people who share the same values as you.
2. Network in the right places.
What do you enjoy doing? There are more and more people now running unique and different types of events, you don’t have to succumb to the mundane boring hotel rooms with crap coffee and bacon rolls. Last year I hosted Spa Days, Afternoon Teas, fabulous lunches at dishoom and fortnum & Mason, as well as comedy clubs and a trek up to the three shires waterfalls for a cold water swim with a wim hof coach! The new relationships which were formed at these events are going strong, new collaborations have formed and more sales have been made, and guess what – not one pitch or business card was swapped!
3. Join communities.
This could be within Social Media Platforms such as Facebook or Linkedin, or other online networking groups who have external communities. The important thing is that the community is full of the right people for you. By joining an online community, you will start to make new connections straight away, you don’t have to wait to meet face-face. You do need to make the effort to engage with other members, you can’t join and expect people to seek you out. You have to put in the work. If there is online networking, make sure you show up and show your face, you can’t make real connections with your camera off, this isn’t blind date! The added advantage of joining a community, is when you do meet face to face, you will feel far more at ease, as you will already know people and the ice has already been broken.
4. Attend a retreat.
This is becoming more and more popular, and whether you are looking for a business retreat, a wellness retreat, or an adventurous mountain climbing retreat, trust me you can find it! It may feel daunting booking to spend a few days with total strangers, but honestly you will leave feeling driven, inspired and motivated, with new amazing relationships.
5. Host your own Event or Retreat.
This is a great way to bring people into your world. Maybe there is something you would really love to do, and you can’t find it, so what a great opportunity to create it yourself! You won’t be the only person out there who wants the same experiences as you, and this is a great way for people to learn more about you and your business.
6. Grab every opportunity.
There are so many people out there who will provide you with opportunities. Make sure that you grab anything which comes your way with both hands. The online world is full of courses, memberships, events, retreats, communities, speaking gigs, masterminds, I am sure you have been in, or at, many yourself. Are you actively seeking opportunities within these or just seeking sales?? Offer your support to your fellow business owners, could you speak at a retreat, could you hold training in their community? yes you will be providing value, however you are taking the opportunity to offer support and to be in front of their clients. I see many people who will only do this work for a fee, and I think it’s a little counter-productive.
I agree your time is valuable, but so is the opportunity of building your profile and your audience.
7. What can you give?
Yes, let’s be honest, we all want to make more money, increase sales, build our profile and become successful, but the worst thing you can do is only care about YOU. If you don’t listen to others, don’t pay them any interest, you don’t ask anyone else questions, but, you talk non stop about yourself, pitching and selling, people will run a mile, and you will struggle to build any real relationships.
If you are always asking for people to share your sales, offers, you ask to promote yourself to their audiences, ask yourself, what are you doing to give back? Be that person, who like in point 6, offers others opportunities, be the person who is a supporter of others in business, look for ways you can help other people. This is going to be far more powerful, you will be respected and valued a lot more and you will build genuine relationships in this way. I can guarantee that you will see the favours being paid back. (disclaimer – there will be people who will take advantage of your good nature and never repay the favour) you have done your bit – move on, hold your head up high. The relationship won’t work if your values are not aligned!
Now that you have these tips in your bag, implement them! You can read all the advice, hints and tips online, but only you can get out there, meet new people and create connections for yourself. I know it’s not always easy, but trust me, by finding the right people and the right places, it will feel nothing like a chore and everything like fun.