The Art of Networking
I've always been confident in my work and even though I still sometimes hate public speaking I always thought I could reflect that confidence if I focussed and relaxed.
Networking is something I grown to have a love/hate relationship for. It took me a while to gain the confidence as a freelancer to go ahead into the world on my own and put myself and my business out there. But in time it's become easier and I finally feel at ease attending industry events and talking about myself and my work with other people in the field.
Not only can networking help you build confidence and get your word out their, It can also lead to essential business contacts which can sometimes be incredibly valuable, after all its not always what you know...
70 percent of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a connection.
- LinkedIn Reports
Events can be a great way of meeting new people and learning from their experiences and careers, it's not always just about the instance direct business you might gain but also about possible long term connects, future business and maybe even opportunities to collaborate.
“Networking means finding people whom I can partner with on a specific piece of business. I found my web developer and PR and social media teams through connections at GROW. That's a much better way to grow a small business.”
- Louize Clarke Co-founder of GROW@GreenPark
Find the right opportunities, make an effort to visit new events often but be picky with the ones you dedicate your time to. After all time is money - make this time well spent and ensure you get something out of each one you visit.
I like to plan ahead, choose an even spread for the year to ensure I have time for work and following up with people in between events. You can also then go prepared with an insight into the event, the people attending, take enough business cards. Throughly aim to enjoy each event - without the pressures of overthinking because you haven't had enough time to prepare and your mind is on the 5,000 other things that you wanted to get done that day.