Recently, I delivered a workshop in seven regional locations. It was a great reminder of the distinction between an audience and a network.
I believe a truly effective network has two key ingredients: first, a clearly articulated purpose and second, members who come together willing to learn, share and support each other.
Gatherings of business owners drawn purely to hear from a particular speaker are not networking groups. They are merely an audience, much like one you’d find at a cinema or music concert.
From speaking to soloists it concerns me how few have really sampled the power of networking.
Instead, many mistake turning up to an advertised event, listening quietly, speaking to no-one and scurrying home with a pocket full of Tim Tams as ‘networking’. It’s clearly not.
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Successful networking groups have a committed leader (or leadership team) at the helm and are always well organised, enjoyable and valuable. Why? Because the members make it so.
As responsible businesses, we cannot and should not rely on Government organisations to start a network and provide ‘networking opportunities’ for us. We must start and build our own.
Popular networking groups will always attract external support. As they say, ‘build it and they will come’.
Not got a good group in your area? Please start a network! Some are already doing so within our forums. Join in and reap the benefits or share your thoughts below.