Networking in Surrey

Are you scared of Networking? Me too!

I was chatting with a fellow networking friend this morning and 'he' said I should start a blog on being a networking newbie............

So he rattled my cage, so here goes!

To be honest, this is rather hard for me to wite as I was petrified - it brings back memories of being 'out of control and out of my depth', but once I started to network I became addicted............. That's because I regained my confidence and made new friends into the bargain.

This is my story -

One minute I had a high flying job, a great career and a salary to match................. the next I was in hospital with my health gone, my job disappeared due to my health and my confidence down the drain...........not to mention 'no money'................

But actually, maybe this was the best thing that had ever happened to me!

But back to the subject, we are talking about networking -

I joined the FSB - Federation of Small Business - and one day I noticed that they had a networking BBQ - I didn't really know what it was, but I thought if I took my partner with me, I'd be all right............ Wrong!

We arrived and signed in and he then said 'I'll see you at the end of the evening' - END OF THE EVENING - No! You will be at my side! No, he said, there is NO point in both of us sitting at the same table talking about OSFS! He meant it too!

What did I do - Yes you've guessed it - I dived into the Ladies Toilet and refused to come out until 30 minutes later he came into the Ladies and dragged me out! Networking by fire!

2 years later, I am talking at Fabulous Women meetings, 4N and others and thoroughly enjoying myself................. and made some fabulous friends. What a difference!

If you are feeling a bit like a 'rabbit in the headlights', one bit of advice - just be yourself and if you are asked to speak or give a 1 minute introduction, less is more - Your name, Your business name and a very brief sentence or two on how you can help your clients and the type of clients you are looking for. That really is it - but just remember that once upon a time everyone else at the meeting had to jump through the loop and attend their first meeting - just be YOURSELF and enjoy :)

Networking meeting are odd - but we all want YOU to succeed, so remember that and RELAX and not only will you get new business but also make new friends and contacts too :)

Welcome to Networking - you are now one of us - so enjoy :)

Has anyone else got any tips or advice that you can give those new to networking ?

Views: 38

Comment by Keith Grover, NiS Founder on October 27, 2012 at 11:10

Yes Jane (great post by the way!) - my tip is: Avoid networking like the plague!

It's infectious and addictive, and once you've got the bug, you won't be able to stop.If you do it right, you'll get new business, make new alliances, and learn more about  running your business better from people who want to help you succeed, and you'll be busier than ever before. You'll also find you're having more fun in your business life than you thought possible...

...and we don't want that now, do we? :0)

Comment by Wendy Ager on November 24, 2012 at 8:32

Great post Jane.

It's the same for many of us.  Luckily I'd had some coaching around public speaking and got over it as a major fear when I started my business, but I still feel nervous about having to speak anywhere, even though I do it quite regularly now.

My first experiences of networking were very uncomfortable.  When I was new to business and networking and had to speak for a minute I was very nervous.  But, there are plenty of informal networking meetings where that isn't in the format e.g. Business Biscotti, some of the Ladies Who Latte meetings, and Ecademy Croydon. I now organise those and that was the main reason why I went back, regularly, as well as having a speaker to help you learn and progress your business. 

If your fear is public speaking you can find informal meetings where this doesn't happen and ease yourself into networking.  However, it really is a fabulous skill to add to your business, being able to speak confidently about you and it, so I do recommend you get over that fear in whatever way suits you.  Then, in time, you too could be out there presenting as well, like myself and Jane.

Happy networking!

Comment by Lord Hamilton of Glencoe on November 27, 2012 at 19:17

Sounds as if dat pesky Rabbit is well gone Jane?!  Congrats on sharing your embarassing 1st date!

As ex-teachers, both Keith & I know that preparation (with some practice perhaps) is the most important aspect of effective 'public' speaking!  However, I reckon "Networking" is almost an entirely different skill but again, pertinent preparation remains the key?!  Even an "impromptu" speech or meet will benefit from some practice - and that is NOT an oxymoron by the way!!

Comment by Jane Hardy on July 25, 2015 at 17:48

Thanks for your comments - Even weirder - I have now bought a networking organisation - Fabulous Women and Marvellous Men - www.fabulous-women.co.uk     That's life :)   

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