Ask any career coach or successful business professional and they’ll tell you that to expand your business, you need to put yourself out there and meet new people. Despite the growth of online communication and social interaction tools, people still “buy people”, so by showing your face, people are more likely to remember you when looking for a service you provide. So I have to ask, how often do you network?
Ottawa has a number of terrific networking events that target different demographics, industries and interests. One of my new favourites here in Ottawa is eSAX . The brainchild of local musician and entrepreneur Jarrod Goldsmith, eSAX – The Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience, is an “entrepreneurial social networking group dedicated to creating connections, gaining applicable knowledge from featured speakers and promoting collaboration among Regional Chambers of Commerce.” With different events that range from straight up mix and mingles, to speed networking events, eSAX seems to have something for every comfort level.
While sometimes it’s daunting, remember that networking is an important tool for every business owner and communications professional because, not only are you showing your face to these people, but you also get to personally talk about what it is that you do. Would it be easier to hide at home and interact through your online communities? Maybe. But is it as effective? No way! After all, isn’t the goal of online communications to directly reach new potential customers, suppliers and business contacts? Networking is the fastest way to make this happen as you are making direct physical contact with new people.
Need a nudge to get started? Check out this great article on “How Business Networking Works” by Linda Brinson from my all time favourite site: HowStuffWorks.com.
AND to make you feel better, here’s a funny networking oops! moment from Moo.com’s “Your most embarrassing networking stories.”