Friday, 07 September 2018 08:43

Are networking events an asset to your career or a waste of time?

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As in many other questions encountered in life, the answer is ‘it depends!’

There is no guarantee if you attend a networking event that it will be an asset to your career. Conversely, it would be difficult to prove that not attending a business networking harmed your career.

Showing up at a networking event without a strategic plan is a waste of your time.

One of the first things to consider is whether there is value in attending a specific event? Not all events are created equal. If the event has some relevance to you and/or your career and there may be people in attendance who could benefit you, then it would likely be worth your while to attend.

Attending doesn’t merely mean showing up. It means having a plan as to who you want to meet and what you want to accomplish.

I’m a shy networker by default. I’m not fond of networking however, I know that to be successful in any of my business ventures, I need to network effectively.

I wrote Power Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly! a few years back. I’m working on a sequel ‘Even More Power Networking for Shy People.’

In the books I outline strategies to make the most of your networking events. I created a strategic plan to level the networking playing field for shy, introverts. Networking tends to favour the extroverts of the world.

Like developing any other skill in life, to become proficient at networking, you need to practice and learn from each experience.

When it comes to business networking, I’m more of a quality over quantity type of guy. I would prefer to meet and have engaging, informative conversation with 4 to 5 people, than I would with a couple dozen or so. Power networking refers to having a plan in place when you go to a networking event and then working your plan while you are there.

The final piece of the strategy is evaluating the plan. Did you meet any beneficial people? Will you be following up and strengthening your relationship with anyone you met?

What do you have to offer others. Networking is more about giving than getting.


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