Are you a networker?

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Those of us who have businesses or blogs, should allocate time to build relationships with others in our field. Not only will this enlarge our knowledge base but it will take us out of our comfort zone.  We cannot isolate ourselves from those who potentially could open a door for us or visa versa. 

The introvert in me likes the idea of networking behind a screen as then I can communicate on my terms. However, I am learning that networking online is simply not enough. I need to attend bloggers events, business events and show my face to the world.  There are millions of small businesses and bloggers all over the world. It can be a challenge to showcase your skills to a world which is exposed to blogs and small businesses all day, every day.

I have joined several forums on LinkedIn and Facebook where I participate in group discussions and critique where asked. I do not know any group members on a face to face level but feel I have built a rapport with those who are regulars. In the process of sharing my blog content, my confidence has grown. I am open to comments, most are positive whilst others pose questions which go on to challenge me as a blogger.

There is a London Bloggers Ball taking place in June 2016. I often read about the ins and outs of it on Twitter. The excitement from fellow bloggers is contagious – it seems this really  is the place to be! 

A part of me thinks;

“It may serve me well to attend.  Who knows who I could bump into.”

Then my thoughts run into;

“You are not an established blogger. This event will be full of bloggers who have 1000+ followers, won awards, spoken on radio and large events.”

On occasion, I feel out of my depth as I try to “find” my place in this ginormous blogging pool. Perhaps I need to take on the mindset that though there are many of “us”, there is still a place for me to share my thoughts to those who have a keen interest.

I conclude that whether I attend the Bloggers Ball or not, I know I must continue to engage with others online and at events.  There is much to gain by networking and I must be a part of this in order to increase my readership and followers. 

How often do you network online and in person? 

Do you naturally gravitate towards networking? 

Do you understand its benefits?  

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26 thoughts on “Are you a networker?”

  1. I understand the benefits of networking, I really do. But Phoenicia, just between me, you, and anyone else reading this, I honestly have to say that I think I would rather gouge out my eyes with burning sticks than attend a networking event – that’s how much of an introvert I am. I would probably need to get some coaching to get up to speed networking-wise, maybe I should look into that.

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  2. I often wonder about how valuable networking is, or how successful it is.
    Sometimes it seems I am just networking with people like me, at the same level. Just a bunch of us going around networking with the same people.
    I think the importance of networking is finding those who are successful, and that is more difficult than it seems. As in LinkedIn, many of establishes authors, you need their email to connect with them. if I had their email, I would of already connected with them in the first place.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Phoenicia — absolutely attend the London bloggers conference. You’ll meet other bloggers — and you will be able to hold your own. I’ve attended more networking events that I care to count. It can be overwhelming, but my rule is that if I make one great contact it was worth it. I never try to meet everyone in the room and hand out a bunch of business cards. That’s like spamming. Also, I’ve gone to events, and after a few minutes said to myself, “I don’t want to be here. I’m going home.” Sometimes you’re just not up for it!

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  4. I had a career in sales and marketing before I shifted to coaching and writing and mixed in there were all my stints serving on various nonprofit boards, so I’ve attended countless networking conferences, dinners, after hour events, you name it, I’ve passed business cards out there.

    Now that I focus mainly on writing and developing training materials I’m happy to do most of my networking virtually, but I would encourage you to attend some networking events Phoenicia. Besides the people you meet, there is an energy that is unique to these types of events that I’ve always found incredibly motivating. I wouldn’t mind attending a blogging conference myself, but of the two events I’ve found I’d like to try, one is in Australia and the other is in New York in August – no one in their right mind voluntarily goes to NY in August! Anyway, I hope you decide to give it a try.

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    1. Marquita – it looks as though you have “been there and bought the t-shirt”!

      Thanks for the advice. I have attended a few networking events and found them to be a positive experience. The attendees come expectant.

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  5. Absolutely. London is a fantastic place for networking. When I lived there I used to attend events where ministers, or heads of states, that I needed meeting with from all over the world would be. In the middle of all the men in an elegant designer suit was I. So the ministers almost always wanted to talk to me and we arranged to have a meeting. Frequently their right hand man and I would be in touch to schedule my meeting and I would fly out to meet him.

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  6. I’m introverted, but I try not to let that stop me. While networking online matters, like you point out, it’s not enough. Like most things in life, there can be no true substitute for in-person meetings. I’ve made the fasted advances by joining networking groups that meet in-person, though great connections develop online, though I think it takes more time as we form more immediate impressions when connecting face-to-face.

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  7. In past careers, I networked a great deal (in Human Resources) and had a love/hate relationship with it. Networking with writers can be the same way depending on the event. I think it’s good to continue what you’re doing–both online and in-person events. The bloggers’ event sounds great and don’t let those 1K blog people intimidate you. Everyone had one follower in the beginning!

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  8. Like you, I am an introvert and kind of naturally gravitate to doing my networking online. However there is an adantage to that in that you have the ability to connect with such a broader and more diverse group of people than you usually are going to find at in-person events.

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  9. In my day job, I network a lot so I do see the benefits of networking. As a blogger, I don’t it matters how many followers you have, every blogger has something unique to offer so don’t be put off from attending these events. I tend to attend the free ones and the ones within my travelling distance. Some are arranged brilliantly and some are a waste of time. For me personally belonging to facebook groups has opened quite a few opportunities for me some of which have been financially beneficial.

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    1. Good for you Mina! Even if two people blog on the same topic, the outcome with differ as they would write from their perspective.

      The Bloggers Ball is definitely a paid event – they all seem to be in the UK.

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  10. Phoenicia, I think you are 100% correct in that you need to build a strong network but it needs to be two ways. I am more than willing to visit blogs, leave comments and share but if that isn’t reciprocated then I stop.
    I’ve never heard of a Blogger’s Ball – sounds like a great idea. Don’t let the thought of 1000+ bloggers put you off. I’d be willing to bet there would be many who go there just to see how others accomplish that.

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  11. The word networking means to me getting something from someone. I rather use the word connecting instead of networking. Connecting with others is more meaningful to me. I like to connect with others online everyday, several times a day. It works for me.

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  12. Hi Phoenicia,
    It wasn’t long ago that I was new at blogging. I felt as you feel: not worthy of rubbing shoulders with experienced and even award-winning bloggers. But I learned not to be embarrassed about contacting long-time bloggers. I adopted the perspective that I was a learner, that I had lots to offer, and that if I could form relationships with established bloggers, that we could all benefit from the experience. You have a great blog with a unique focus. I think the people you meet at the Ball will enjoy talking with you. Put on a “journalist hat” and ask whether you may interview a few of the bloggers you are most interested in, and then post the results on your blog. I’d love to read it! I live too far from a major city to participate in events like you described, but I could learn from what you write about your experience. Go for it!

    Dr Rin Porter

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Dr. Rin. We all started at the beginning. Often we do not know the hardship others have faced to arrive at this point in their life.

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