Falling in love with networking

Rosanna Machado | May 17, 2019

Networking is such a rubbish word. It fills many people with dread so isn’t it time that we thought of it differently? The pressure often comes from the fact that people are looking for new business contacts and business cards and if there’s no ‘obvious’ sign that you might be their next client, they walk away.

But this feels short sighted to me as business comes from the strangest of places but above all from the strength of relationships that you have. My philosophy is about building great relationships first and from that the work will blossom.

So next time you feel like you should be growing your network why don’t you adopt the Rosie rules of life:

  • Think of meeting new business contacts like going to a party – talk to interesting people and don’t worry about whether there is a clear business link. I love talking to anyone that is passionate about what they do, whatever that is. Their passion is infectious and in no time, you will be as interested as them in the subject!
  • Find people who you share values with – this is far richer common ground than working in the same industry and opens up fascinating conversations about podcasts you listen to, articles you have read, and your life can be enriched by the exchange of ideas
  • Think about what you can do for others. I am a big fan of Adam Grant and his work on being a giver in life. Be generous in any way you can – it will build more meaningful relationships and is good for the soul
  • If you’d like something from someone, think about how to ask – use your empathy to frame it in the right way. People are often flattered to be asked for advice
  • Be open and aware of others in the room – we have all been in situations where we don’t know anyone and find ourselves alone at an event, so look up and invite people into your conversation. Create a croissant not a doughnut when standing in a group, so that other people are welcome to join
  • Be polite – if you need to move and speak to someone else, do this politely and thank them for their time. Follow up and thank anyone that gave you advice or that you’d like to stay in touch with.

In my experience, the best business comes from trusted relationships that are built over time. Be patient and make those strong connections and you never know what may come out of it in the future