The world of work is changing and without a doubt we’re seeing more and more people transition to less secure freelance work. While many will extol the virtues of enhanced work-life balance and the sense of control that this lifestyle can bring, it’s also true that it can sometimes feel quite precarious and that in order to survive and thrive in this new world of work, persistent focus needs to be applied to building a new business pipeline.
There are a number of different ways to achieve this, but for me, by far the most successful means to develop a robust commercial pipeline has always been networking.
Before I progress, I should tell you, I’m fully aware of just how hideous the concept of networking is for many! Trust me when I say I’ve been to more than my fair share of networking events where I’ve met someone who has asked me who I am and what I do, without even attempting to disguise their disinterest as they peruse the horizon for someone more interesting or relevant to introduce themselves to. Trust me also when I say that those people are DOLTS!
I think the challenge is that, over the last 20 or so years, as the corporate world has attempted to suck every last penny of value out of the commercial transaction process, networking has been perceived increasingly as a commoditised process, where certain actions should yield certain outcomes. Business people have come to networking events with certain targets or quotas to hit, and certain expectations around finding convertible business leads. It leaves the rest of us feeling more than a bit queasy.
I think I have good news, however. I’ve recently resumed attending local and regional business networking events and, if I’m not mistaken, things appear to be changing. If more of us can assume a more sensible, pragmatic approach to networking, then I’m confident that the activity will ultimately bear more fruit for all.
So, what is this sensible pragmatic approach? Here are my top tips:
I hope that the above sheds some light on how to get the most out of your networking endeavours moving forward. Good luck out there, folks!
Cat’s recruitment career has furnished her with fascinating insights into how people behave in the workplace, particularly in response to change. She has a deep interest in human behaviour, organisational psychology and helping business leaders create sustainable, ethical and values-based working environments.