Informal networking

Do you get more work from traditional or informal networking?

Informal networking at coworking spaceI have recently realised something odd about networking.  I have never met a single person who admits to enjoying it or being good at it!

It seems as though it is regarded as something of a black art, which we are all eager to distance ourselves from!

And yet many businesspeople will tell you that they get a lot of business through contacts and word of mouth.

What is this if not networking?

It’s something I refer to as ‘informal networking’.

I don’t believe that networking is an activity only carried out at organised events! In fact, the major downside of organised networking is that everyone is there to sell!

A roomful of sellers can be a demoralising experience.

I would say you are networking when you talk to anyone about your business.  anyone at all!

Think about all the different people you speak to in a week. Your hairdresser, neighbour, mechanic, shopkeeper, estate agent etc.

Tell them what you do, in a conversational, interesting way of course!

Think about where you meet other business people too. In a cafe, co-working space, conference or meeting. I’ve picked up lots of business doing free talks at meetings and conferences where my target audience congregate.

That’s what informal networking is and it seems to come much more easily and sound much more authentic.

Nothing like the bear pit of some networking events I’ve been to where everyone sees you as a prospect rather than a human being!

And remember to tell your existing clients about the products and services you offer which they have not already used. Never assume they know all about you – they may be looking elsewhere for precisely what you can offer!

What are your experiences of networking? Do you find you get more from informal networking rather than traditional networking events?

I’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments.

And let me know how your informal networking goes and whether any opportunities arise out of it!

Posted in: Networking

2 Comments on "Informal networking"

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  1. Absolutely I agree and have experienced the success of networking in its true sense of communicating with those around you!
    Due to a good friend of mine knowing about the Coaching Business which I am currently setting up and my own interest in coaching utilising horses I have been directed by my friend to someone who is also setting up her business and hers involves coaching with horses!
    A working relationship and new friendship has been born and have now relayed this exciting news and results of a recent trial coaching session to my hairdresser and his wife who have taken my details and am confident will spread the word and may experience this great methodology themselves!
    I love networking!

    • Andy Britnell says:

      Hi Anni – it’s amazing what happens when you have the right mindset for networking. I often find that just having an intention of finding someone who will help you develop your business can suddenly result in an unexpected connection. Networking is great when you can be authentic and open. Not so good when you are tied to a process! Thanks for your story 🙂

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