While at the Business Hive’s monthly First Tuesday networking event, in Dudley Street, Grimsby, I was struck by how good it was. There were plenty of people talking and generally enjoying the early evening get together.
Networking; perhaps a word that’s sometimes overused and that some ‘Networking Groups’ hide behind when they invite people along to meetings. Having visited a few over the past years, I found, at times, it can be like a production line; you move from one person to another, spend little time with them, and then move on. And yes, you can arrange to meet up later and explore each other’s services further, but my view is, if the Hive experience is anything to go by, these ‘production line’ networking meetings have to step up to the mark set by the Hive.
Here is my personal reason why; you start to meet people who you have met before, you start to understand them and their business, and one point that I feel is important, you look forward to meeting them, to hear how they are doing, getting on, listening to their challenges and how they over come them, or don’t, but you know them better. You have time to speak and more importantly, listen to them and from this you understand them and their business. You have time to court them, and from this simple action, you gain friends and colleagues whom you know, who will do what they can, when they can within the type of service they provide. Then your trust in them grows.
Research has given me the following; the benefits of networking are about building long-term relationships and promoting you and your business – remember, most business is done with people first. I suggest networking at the Hive will strengthen relationships more effectively as you are regularly engaging with your contacts. If you are engaging, you will be looking to see if your services & products can benefit the person in front of you. Another benefit of listening to someone you know well is, they may offer advice or ask for advice on something that has nothing to do with their services, but provides the opportunity to showcase your expertise. Such as, I bought an iPad, do you know of any good apps? That will enable me to use the iPad to a greater degree, and if you know and can help, their trust in you grows. It is not rocket science, but in the rush to gain clients and make more profit, I feel we tend to forget, we are people who really at times like to connect and more importantly, thrive on good connections.
So to finish my little ramble, although I shall still go to other types of networking and contribute, I look forward to the monthly meeting at the Business Hive due to the quality time I can spend with like-minded individuals. So a big thank you to Mark and his team, you have a really good event once a month and I hope other networking groups can step up; it would make a big difference, I feel, to all.