For those of you who quiver at the thought of organised networking, remember networking is something you already do, most likely every day of the week. Grabbing a coffee at the weekend with a friend is networking. Meeting colleagues for lunch is
networking. Doing a short night course is networking. Even chatting to neighbours when out walking the dog is networking. We do it subconsciously every day of the week with ease because it’s on a small scale. The fear factor comes in when we have to do it on a large scale. The trick here is to understand that no matter how many people are in the room or at the event, you will typically only network with a handful so try to ignore the scale of the event by concentrating on the couple of new people you will meet today.
Networking is not just about creating new contacts or building new relationships however, it’s also about maintaining your existing ones over time. This takes far more effort but can also be far more rewarding. Don’t panic, you don’t have to stay in contact with everyone you ever meet, just the ones where you have connected on a personal level, where you “click”. Over time these people become colleagues and if you’re lucky, they become lifelong friends.
So remember, next time you are going for a coffee, invite a friend. It’s an opportunity to maintain those relationships you worked so hard to create and coffee always tastes better with a friend.