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Networking and meeting the same people – good or not?

October 10, 2014

As an organiser of networking events I often hear the statements  or something similar that come up in conversation….

“I’ve met all the people here before” or “I know all the people here” or “Why is it that you see the same people at these events” or “I only want to meet people I haven’t met before” or “I only want to meet “butchers, bakers and candlestick makers” or “Introduce me to people who employ over 500 people” or “We only work with businesses that have 100 or more PC’s” or “ It’s businesses that are exporting that really interest us” or “At this exhibition it’s only people I’ve seen before” or “The footfall has been very low so not had many people to talk to (in a room with 100 business exhibitors!)”

And a whole load of other variations!

Having thought about this, I asked myself the question “why is there this continual urge to meet new people or only want to meet certain types of people (and sometimes people are not even mentioned as it is the “business” that is referred to).  What about taking the time to foster and build relationships?  As Robert Kiyosaki said “The richest people in the world look for and build networks.  Everyone else looks for work” and to this end a conversation with someone that you may already know or have met could very easily help you considerably especially if this is a reciprocal “help you” as you have helped someone previously.  You can help those that you have met (regardless of when, where) in numerous ways – shared a connection, passed on some work (perish the thought), shared a link, met and had a proper one to one, found out that they work with the businesses you would like to, that you can help them open some doors….. I could go on but there is a plethora of great information on how you can give before you gain (abundance theory in action, a win-win – need I say more!)

Thinking about the original statements – how is that when we are at the school gate, maybe at the pub, maybe with friends, even family we do not have the same approach – we nurture, listen, empathise, sympathise, help those we know already.  It’s all about working on the relationship and building it, not dismissing it as “one that is there already” and looking for something new.   The same skills we use with family and friends can work just as well in business!

Also consider that even the people we know and may have seen only last week have had all sorts of things go on in their world (just look back on your last week) – what challenges did you have – were they financial, time, people, family, domestic or leisure based – could someone have helped you – perhaps had a solution, some advice or even a contact who could have helped (perish another thought!)  What developments were you working on (or those of the person “you already know) – new initiatives, new marketing, new products, new service, potential recruitment, a need for expertise, perhaps you need leverage, what about more time for family (or for work)  – again I won’t go as I trust that you get the gist.  By asking the right questions, listening and getting into a conversation (and here’s a thing – it’s easier to do this with someone you already know!) who knows what could happen – you may be able to help each other!

Our existing contacts/connections are people and we all thrive on a sense of belonging and it is something that does take time to do but when done it really is rewarding for all parties and (this is the last thought to perish!) the people we know have far more knowledge and expertise than we could ever wish for.  By nurturing our relationships we can have a win-win support/expertise/knowledge network that is second to none.

I would say in conclusion that developing the relationship with those that you already know is going to be far more beneficial in the long term than going out searching for the new.  To keep a customer takes 6 times less resource that to get a new one – surely this applies to the people that we already know?

Feel free to comment!

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One Comment
  1. Well said Sean – nurture the relationships we have already built as well as making new ones. In a crisis situation it is those you know and whose opinions you value and trust that you would turn to first.

    Ally

    Ally Colton
    Fundraising and Publicity Co-ordinator

    Southgate Court, Buckfast, Devon, TQ11 0EE

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