In the competitive marketing landscape that we operate in, ‘networking’ is a hugely valuable and increasingly popular tool, that can be used by small or large businesses to build and maintain relationships, stimulate personal growth and raise the profile of yourself and/or the business you represent. It is however, a long-term strategy and focus should be based around building a network of connections for the future, that are both meaningful and sustainable.
Networking can be done online via sites such as LinkedIn, however by far the most valuable form of networking is face-to-face. This type of networking involves attending events that usually have a non-selling, relaxed environment where individuals can showcase their knowledge and expertise as well as create valuable relationships. The fast-paced, tech-centric lifestyles we lead today have made it easier for us to avoid face-to-face communication, and this is not necessarily a good thing, as face-to-face communication is often the key to building trust and forming long-lasting relationships.
At Marmion, the importance of face-to-face communication is highlighted through our own business model which makes it an essential and unquestionable part of the process that we meet and get to know all of our clients and candidates personally, before we begin working with them. For us, this is so important because without having met them, we do not believe we can act in good faith in promoting either party in a manner that acts in their best interest. Talking in person also helps to build rapport which is massively important as strong relationships are often built on trust and respect that has been earned on both sides.
In order to network effectively, gravitating towards people you know and already like should be avoided. These people will often have similar interests, backgrounds and points of view to you but what results from this is a ‘closed’ networking experience which limits our exposure to people who can offer real, valuable connections and fresh, new ideas. The importance is quality of conversation over the quantity. There is little point, if any, in attending a networking event to hand out hundreds of business cards or to make hundreds of empty new LinkedIn connections if these connections have real no purpose or intent. It would be far more advantageous to make fewer, genuine connections if these connections are truly meaningful. There is also little point in building valuable relationships through speaking with individuals at events if you do not follow up these connections. By exchanging contact details, connecting on LinkedIn, or just making a quick phone call, it can help to strengthen that connection and also create a method of communication for future use.
Networking has so many benefits. It can help enhance your specific or general industry knowledge; keep you up-to-date with business trends; help you grow in confidence as an individual and as a professional; and can help build and showcase your personal brand. It can be hugely beneficial for start-ups and small companies in particular, to help get their name out there whilst building trust and gaining support from the local community in an extremely cost-effective way. Ultimately, networking is a hugely valuable tool that all businesses can benefit from utilising, with an added bonus that the majority of events are fun and free.
There are a variety of networking events to choose from, ranging from early morning breakfast events to drinks events after work. A quick search on ‘https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/’ is the easiest way to search for events and sign up online. Marmion regularly attend Lightstart’s networking events; our personal favourites are their monthly digital coffee morning and ‘netWINEing’. We also attend ‘Harrogate Live’, ‘Harrogate Social’ and keep a regular eye on Martin Mann’s networking calendar for any other events being held in the Leeds/Harrogate area – https://sites.google.com/mann.solutions/harrogate-networking/home
If you would like any more information on networking or the services Marmion provide, please do not hesitate to contact me on ’07943710160’ or ‘0113 3320 678’.
I hope to see many of you at a networking event in the near future!