We’ve all heard the saying; it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

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Elements of this statement ring true. A lot of business comes through referrals – the ‘who you know’, and the best way to expand this network is to, you guessed it… network.

I think the importance of networking for business growth and development is something that needs to be shouted about, and is something that businesses need to do a hell of a lot more of – especially smaller start-ups. Not only can you generate leads and potential business, but networking will help to increase your brand awareness.

In the recruitment industry, networking and building your talent pool is absolutely crucial to success. If you can own the talent, you can own the market.

So, why aren’t we doing more of it?

I get that the idea of spending your evening making potentially awkward conversation with strangers isn’t that appealing. However, if you look past this and think about the potential benefits, networking can really be an appealing prospect.

To network successfully you need to manage your expectations and prepare.

  1. Never attend a networking event under the impression you will get exactly what you want out of it. Your aim should be to have good, honest business conversations with like-minded people in your industry and if something comes from it — great.
  2. More often than not an attendee list will be available to you. Read this prior to the event and identify the people that you would like to speak to. Remember that networking isn’t about how many people you speak to; it’s about who you speak to. You should leave the event knowing that you have made a lasting impression on a handful of people; similarly a handful of people should have made a lasting impression on you.
  3. Networking as a two-way street — you need to form mutual relationships with the people you meet. So as well as thinking about what you can get out the event, think about how you can help others and what you have to offer.

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