Today I’m straying away from event-focused posting, and I’m going to discuss something a little more broad: networking. It’s important for business. It’s important for events. Let’s be real… it’s key to life in general. So why does it have to be so difficult?
I’m someone that typically enjoys having people around. I love living with a roommate and hate when she’s sent up north for work and I’m left alone to deal with my Criminal-Minds-fueled thoughts while she’s gone. I am most definitely an extrovert, though the definition for this is not necessarily what most people think. Being introverted doesn’t mean someone is not outgoing; it just means they recharge in their alone time. Conversely, extroverts gain energy when they are around other people. And even as a clear extrovert, I find networking extremely draining.
It’s hard to introduce yourself to new people and find topics to discuss, and it’s even more difficult to really lay the groundwork for meaningful relationships. But anyone who has ventured out into business on their own knows that relationships are where it’s at. People want to work with individuals that they know, like, and trust. Having a strong network will more likely than not lead to new projects and opportunities… which is exactly what I keep telling myself.
I’ve decided recently that the next step I need to take in my business is to expand my local contacts. And the best way to do this is through networking events. I still don’t like the awkward “who should I talk to?” moments, but as I continue to meet people in my industry, those situations are becoming less and less common. That being said, what I really need to do is expand outside of my industry. It’s pretty unlikely that other event planners are going to want to hire me to plan events, but I’ve found this to be an easy introduction into learning what networking is all about.
I’ll have to make the jump soon to local business networking events, but at least in the meantime I am getting to know other people that do things similar to me, and hopefully those are some resources I’ll be able to draw on in the future.
So I guess today is a bit of a pep talk for you. Get out there! Meet people! Build relationships! You just never know about the doors that just might open if you do so.