When you think of networking what comes to mind? Business cards? Working the room at networking events? Perhaps you feel that networking is something that you should be doing but you’re not necessarily doing enough of.
I’m going to show you how you can shift your mindset about networking.
Networking is really just about meeting people. It’s about connecting with people and seeing whether or not the service you provide, or the product you provide, or what you do is something that’s going to be of value to somebody else.
Networking is about building relationships. Rather than thinking ‘Okay, I need to network with this person because I want to ultimately sell to them‘, you should approach it with the aim of starting a relationship and seeing where it goes. That person could end up just being a friend, they could refer you for work in the future, they could be somebody who you collaborate with, they could be someone who recommends you a service or has a service that you want to buy. The options are endless in terms of where the relationship could go. But, the key is that you’re getting out there and you’re meeting people.
And the more that you meet people and you share with them what you do, the more opportunity there is for you to grow in terms of your career, in terms of your business, in terms of what it is you’re trying to achieve. So, I want to share with you three approaches that you should be taking to your networking to make it easier, and to make it something that you can do consistently and continue to grow in.
1. Think about your goals.
What are your current goals in terms of your career, your business, motherhood? What do you want to do?
Once you’ve considered your goal, you can start thinking about what you need to be doing to achieve that goal and what you might get from networking that will help you to move towards it.
2. Think about how to network in a way that suits you.
There are various different ways to network, and you need to identify the way that works for you.
You could be networking in person by going to events.
It may not be possible to go to events if you are a mum who is staying at home with your children, in which case networking online may work better for you. So, you can leverage Linkedin, you can leverage online communities and be networking that way.
You may prefer to organise individual chats over coffee or lunch with people so that you are connected on a one-to-one if that suits you better.
Once you have identified what works for you, focus on that – just focus your energies there.
3. Think about who you should be networking with.
Start thinking about who the people are that you want to be networking with, and be a bit strategic about your who:
- Is there a specific person in your industry, or in your area, who you want to learn from?
- Is there a particular group of people that you want to get more involved with?
- Is there an organisation that you want to align yourself with?
- Is there someone in your network already who you want to reconnect with?
Monthly, make a list of a few people that you want to connect with or you want to nurture the relationship that you have with already. Then you can focus your networking for the month on building those relationships – by talking with them, catching up with them, finding out what’s going on with them.
Think about how you can be useful to them in terms of what they’re trying to achieve and then just building and developing your relationships that way. So, one by one you’re building relationships. You’re growing and people are getting to know about what you do. And then you are making an impact on people on an individual basis.
People don’t always remember what you say, but they remember how you made them feel.
When it comes to networking, you want to be building genuine, authentic relationships with people.
I encourage you to make networking a priority. Go out there and start connecting with more people and start building and growing in your career, in your business, and in motherhood through the connections that you’re making with people.
If you’re looking for a place to network right now, come and join us in the Careers Beyond Motherhood Community. It’s a community of over 150 women from across the world. We’re connecting and we are encouraging each other as we grow in our careers and as we grow in motherhood. Come and network with us there!