A group of business people, gathered in a room

Networking – Love it or Loath it?

Is networking your idea or heaven or hell?

If you are in heaven and see the importance, then I challenge you to get more people to realise the power of their ‘NET’

Why the change in mindset?

The change in my mindset began during COVID. I realised that whilst I knew my team and colleagues, I didn’t know my community or my surroundings. I felt alone. I wanted to learn more about the area I had lived in for years and who my neighbours were. I wanted to know what they did for their careers and lives – what made them tick.

When I started in business, I had some very wise words given to me:

“Network, Network, Network. After all you are your brand, and if no one knows you, how can they know your brand?”

As you can imagine, this resonated with me and I networked with vengeance!

The Art of Networking.

Remembering that “art is in the eye of the beholder” according to E.A Bucchineri, where can we start with networking?

I once read “Networking for People who hate Networking” by Devora Zack which should give a good idea of my mindset at the time! The aim should be to talk to new people and ask them about their business and their roles. In this way, you build a rapport with them, and a relationship flourishes. However, many people who network will chat mainly with their friends, people they’ve known for years. Whilst I could ask whether this is good for their business or brand, it’s more important to ask what is their aim in attending the networking. Was it to catch up with a contact and talk shop or was it to go out and market their business?

People attend these sessions for so many different reasons. It could be that they wanted to get out of the house for a bit, or thought the subject being discussed sounded interesting. It is important we don’t assume everyone attends for the same reason.

So why do you network? What is your end goal?

Here are some of my tips for networking:

Identify your Aims

  • Identify your end goal. What do you want from the networking group? Consider whether they meet your needs, types of business attending, level or roles, and business size.
  • What type of networking do you want – formal, informal, in-person or online?
  • Consider your brand, what is the image people will take away with them after meeting you?
  • How much are you willing to pay for the experience?


  • What do you need to prepare before the event? You might want to go through the list of attendees, for example, researching, and identifying those you most want to connect with.
  • Do you need to prepare an ‘elevator pitch’? In some networking meetings you only get 30-45 seconds to give an overview of your business, so make sure this is prepped to keep your message clear and concise.
  • Think about how people can connect with you after the meeting. Will you take business cards or a QR code? Are your online profiles up-to-date and appropriate? Will they be joining your ‘friends’ section on social media? Is that compatible with your aims or do you need to consider keeping work and friends in separate streams?

On the Day

  • Arrive on time or early. This way you will be in the best position to meet as many people as possible before the meeting begins.
  • Will you rush off at the end of the meeting? You might consider lingering a little and taking all the opportunities to connect with people.


  • Connect with people! You’ve done the hard work of getting to the meeting, and working out what you want to say, so make sure you close the circle and create that connection.
  • Use LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other platform your potential connections are using.
  • Reflect – consider how the meeting went. What might you do differently next time? What did you enjoy? What worked well for you?

Then start again!!!

Meeting new people can be hard for some of us (me included!). As an introvert, I find it tiring. Many extroverts find such meetings energising. However, the more I do it the more enjoyable it is. I find arriving early and finding a ‘job’ really helps takes my nerves away. If I can’t do that, I ‘act as if’. That means I pretend I’m super confident and eventually it will happen.

Written by Julie Marsh of Be You Consultancy who is a member of the Peterborough Business Directory

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