Obviously, we all network to build a contact database in the hope of developing relationships that create business leads, but for those of us who are commited to business networking, both online and offline, the benefits are multi-faceted.

When I look back over the last ten years and reflect, I am amazed a how much I have changed as a person as a result of my networking experiences.

Skills

By rolling up my sleeves and getting involved, I have learned many skills that my retail training and professional accountancy training could not have taught me.  These include;

  1. creating, organising, promoting and hosting events
  2. managing a team, including chairing a committee of volunteers
  3. opportunities to work in the charity sector, which have since been a significant part of gaining my Diploma in Charity Accounting
  4. many different forms of marketing, communication and negotiation skills
  5. and of course – blogging and social media techniques.

Friends

The number of great friends I have acquired as a result of networking moves me.  Friends that I can pick up the ‘phone to, banter with on Twitter, share books with, ask both personal and business advice or simply meet for a cuppa whilst our children play.

So the second half of my “10 ways” is devoted to paying homage to them as a small token of my appreciation.

  1. Mervyn Foster.  Looked after me like a surrogate father in the early days of my time on the HBN committee; partnered with me when hosting The Missing Link in Cambridgeshire; “bullied me” into attending Toastmasters and is often my chaparone to networking events allowing me to chew of his ear in the car!  A life-long friend and trusted counsel.
  2. Julie Buck.  Another HBNer that has had a significant impact on my life.  Her passion for business and helping others to be healthy and successful is infectious, and as a result Hunters’ Health was conceived.  She is a great leader, and like Mervyn someone I can confide in.
  3. Heather Townsend.  A more recent addition to my networking circle, Heather was one of my first Twitterbuddies.  Her no-nonsense approach to business and love of networking drew my attention.  We now chat for hours on social media about business and personal issues. She is now an accomplished author as well as a successful coach, I am proud to know her.
  4. Other Twitterbuddies and Bloggers that deserve a shout out: Helen Stothard, Katherine Connolly, Maxine Welford, Darren Leighfield, Jim Connolly.  Thank you for your support, entertainment and generosity.

Number 10

And finally, it has to be said that the biggest benefit that networking has given me other than an amazing Linked In, Twitter and Facebook contact list, is BELIEF.

My networking experiences have helped me to become the person I am today by developing my confidence and helping me to enjoy my work, knowing that I add value to my clients business.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

If you found this post interesting/useful please share it with your social network and/or bookmark it.  Also, your comments are always valued and will help me to write new posts that are relevant to readers of this blog.

6 Comments

  1. Maxine says:

    Thanks for the mention Toni and what a lovely article to read 🙂

    I had to giggle at your description of Mervyn as only last week I walked into a Toastmasters event (just being curious and not knowing what to expect) and he immediately patted a chair next to him and went out of his way to make me feel welcome and explained the goings on to me.

    Totally agree and like your comment about connections being multi-faceted .. you know when you have ‘connected’ with someone when you skype in your pyjamas hehe or feel comfortable picking up the phone to get opinions, share views, or just chew the fat!

    Thanks for your shout out and looking forward to speaking with you soon 🙂

  2. Toni says:

    you’re very welcome Maxine, thanks for your comments

  3. Philip says:

    I like the two lists, illustrates very nicely the twin benefits of networking. I’ve not been networking that long and to be fair I’ve not attended that many events. However I have in a short space of time ended up making lots of new contacts and some new friends along the way. I’ve been exposed to a wider variety of people than I would have met normally. They have vast experience of life and business and I’ve learned a lot from them. I think you are spot on with point 10 and it is a very important point for lots of people. The belief “beast” kind of lurks threateningly at the back of your mind and the people I’ve met and spoken to via social media have certainly bolstered my belief that tackling something totally new worthwhile even if somewhat difficult!

  4. Toni says:

    Thank you very much for your contribution Philip, I’m pleased you too are benefiting from the networking experience

  5. Neil says:

    I have been involved in the sublime of networking through to the ridiculous but every experience has given me something, be it business, a new contact, business news, long forgotten tips or a variaty of breakfast standards! Networking is a vital part of my business and is to be embraced as a hardworking marketing tool.
    I have always had the confidence to walk into a room of strangers but networking taught me “how” to walk into a room of strangers. This was learned by observing and taking advice from those who knew better and probably still know better than me.
    Has it worked? Well that’s for you to say!

  6. Toni says:

    Thank you Neil, I couldn’t agree more.

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