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Making Networking Fun

Updated on December 23, 2012
Networking can be a great party.
Networking can be a great party. | Source
Source
Bring lots of cards with you to these events!
Bring lots of cards with you to these events! | Source
Source
Listening is the only way you can give first.
Listening is the only way you can give first. | Source
Source

What Is Networking?


Recently at a concert which I learned about from a networking group, a friend of mine introduced herself to a lady sitting at my table. "We network together," she said referring to me.

To our surprise the lady proceeded to tell us that she only recently purchased her first computer. She said she didn't even know what a mouse was yet, but was excited to find out more about this thing called Farmville.

We politely nodded and listened to her go on for a bit about her new found computer skills. Then it dawned on me. She thought that my friend and I networked computers!

Networking is a way of maximizing the adage my father would tell me "It's not what you know, its who you know." Networking is a term used to describe the coming together of people for the explicit purpose of developing and maintaining relationships that will benefit their business or career. Believe it or not, even with the growing popularity and success of social networking online, people still get together face to face!

Where to Network

There are several venues for networking. I found some great networking groups on facebook! Networking groups in my town have a facebook page and I found them by doing a search for the name of my town.

Some networking groups are closed. That means that they only accept one person from every type of industry. The insurance industry often fills quickly because there are so many agents out there! CPA's, financial managers and attorneys are also often competitors to enter into a closed group. These groups usually charge a fee and are typically very structured and have a high demand for referrals.

Other groups are open. One group most people are aware of is the chamber of commerce, but there are many other options available as well. These groups often host a variety of events such as cocktail mixers and luncheons. The structure of these groups depends on the venue. Mixers have much less structure than a sit down meeting.

One of my favorite networking groups hosts a get together nearly every night of the week. InHouston hosts a website full of professionals looking to build relationships with other business professionals. Attendance at an InHouston event never costs a dime (unless ordering a drink or meal from the venue.) The frugality of these events, however, is not the reason it stands among my favorites. That has more to do with its foundation.



Making Networking Fun


InHouston is based on a concept that makes so much sense. It's called "give first."

The idea behind building relationships at networking events is that people like to do business with people they know, like, and trust. It takes a while for that to happen, so when people attend an event, they should realize that they are not about making sales. People attend networking groups with their "elevator pitch" ready to go, but should understand that is not the best way to develop a relationship.

InHouston's give first and servant leadership basis is actually more fun than walking around with an elevator pitch. Anyone can walk around, shake a hand and say "I sell XYZ," but it is actually far more fun to give first. It is like taking on a giant puzzle.

Whenever I am at an InHouston event, or any event, each person I meet becomes a puzzle piece. I think to myself, "Who do I know that can use that ?" Then it becomes a game of the highest amount of leads I can think of for one person in a night.

Now think about it. I've taken all of the stress off of myself. I don't have to worry about getting someone to believe I am the best insurance agent or teeth whitener out there. I just try to find people that will help the business of the people I know...easy! I meet lots of people at networking events, and they often fit very well together.

But how does that help my business? Well, if someone you met sent you 3 or 4 leads, how would you feel about them? Would you like them? What about trust? You would certainly know that person is a great person to know! Now I've got business coming to me, and I didn't have to give a pitch to get the referral.

If the giving first puzzle doesn't sound like fun, maybe you should just go to the cocktail parites. They have alcohol.

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    • frugalfamily profile image
      Author

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      There are lots of Christian Networkers out there. The serve first philosophy suits it well:)

    • jagandelight profile image

      jagandelight 6 years ago from Florida

      Nice hub. I found it interesting because I am looking for ways to increase my network/fellowship meetings which is a christian ministry base.

    • frugalfamily profile image
      Author

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks Hanvi, do you get out to network?

    • Hanvi profile image

      Hanvi 6 years ago

      Very useful information. Voted up:)

    • frugalfamily profile image
      Author

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks for stopping by AppsHub and Credence2. Thanks for the mention credence2, this is a whole different kind of networking:)

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Thanks for sharing FF, I think a word or warning needs to be shared regarding Facebook. One has to be careful because they trawl for information and has been known to make it available to others in ways that one might not approve. Regards Cred2

    • AppsHub profile image

      AppsHub 6 years ago from London

      Great!

    • frugalfamily profile image
      Author

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      I'm glad you found it useful vocalcoach. I like your hubs too!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Good hub on the introduction and value of networking. Rated up and useful. Thanks so much. :)vocalcoach

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