I’ll be honest. For years, the idea of networking made me cringe. I always felt as if a ‘network’ was something other people had. You know, the ones who wanted to climb to the top of the corporate tree. I used to go to professional networking events and end up talking to my own colleagues. . I’m fairly sure that wasn’t the idea. The main problem was the fact that ‘open networking’ always meant ‘milling around drinking’. Whilst I’m certain there are people who can march up to a total stranger and introduce themselves, I’m not one of them.
Of course, building a network is incredibly important to me now. It’s a source of support, knowledge and, increasingly, work. Thankfully I learned that there are different ways to network. Networking in person can involve sitting down for a delicious lunch rather than lurking in a corner with a cold cup of coffee. If the idea of meeting face to face is really too daunting, you can head for social media. Some of my first clients were online contacts that I met on LinkedIn or via Facebook groups.