What riles me about networking is that it is an Industry. For the few, they would have done their networking on the playing fields of Eton and country clubs. Others have opera, cricket fields, golf rounds…etc. Now for my networking fix I simply hang around with my mates around “the docklands” in East London!!
I reflect back on my early retirement from the UK civil service in 2010. Previously with a career spent in private sector – Back Office/Operations in engineering, banking and IT sectors.
The buzz then, on dipping my feet into running my own business, was that I needed to start networking in order to grow my business. So I signed up with a “networking expert” who proceeded to grill me with a one-hour session to understand my “networking preference”. The effect of which made feel I was in the dentist chair! There were frameworks and guidelines to follow and rules to chase people for business.
I threw myself into the fray and found myself joining at least six chambers/bodies and went through a grueling period of “7am breakfast events”, lunchtime seminars, evening workshops – somedays all three together! This flurry dipped, after a year and half, when I heard the refrain of “I have seen you somewhere before.” Albeit with this chorus, when I showed up there was no business growth.
Fast forward to 2015 when I was down to zero chamber/bodies and gone back to fundamentals. My coach held up a mirror so I could reflect my behaviors to understand why I found it difficult to establish relationships. My DISC profile showed up as “challenger/disrupter” hence the effect of my networking rounds was simply “pushing against brick walls”. I now understand better the environments that suit me and to “read pictures and have feelings” so as to build better relationships. Which is the true bedrock of networking!!