Is networking dead? – Professional Advisor Blog, Blue Orchid
I have attended many different events both as a consultant and a business owner and one thing has stood out. People buy from People.

I know you have probably heard this saying and its 100% true, let me give you an example, like many people I have built a home office in my garden, after many hours on the web and contacting firms for quotes I spoke to a carpenter that I knew from the gym I attend. Now I have known this guy for a few years and although my specifications were vague and I therefore I didn’t have a fixed quote our relationship meant that he understood exactly what I wanted, I also knew his reputation and quality of work, but most importantly I trusted him and in business trust is so important. That trust allowed me to be confident that the price would be reasonable and the work of a quality I would be happy with.

Trust in business is important, it isn’t something that just exists it is gained over time and should be a constantly growing mutual relationship. Common interests support the development of trust and that’s how communities develop.

The definition of a community is “a social group whose members have something in common, such as a shared government, geographic location, culture, or heritage”.

However, it is much more than that. A true community has relationships and allows knowledge, support and guidance to be transferred between members. A community takes time to build but can also disappear in a instant.

Business is all about communities and we have been developing various communities in business. You are probably already a member of several communities. This could be the local BID, Networking group, or just LinkedIn. But why? For many this comes down to marketing. You are looking to grow your reach and ultimately gain more business, better business, or more lucrative business. But what about the other benefits of these communities, the support, guidance and connection this often overlooked.

How many times have you used social media to help answer a question? It’s something I do regularly even if it’s just what’s the traffic situation on the motorway. Many specialist groups where members have a common interest have popped up on social platforms like Facebook, and LinkedIn. Yet these platforms have created communities of interests which while often cover large geographical areas all have one thing in common a mutual interest where all members share a specific interest or focus. We often use these networks just for information and guidance but often relationships form that then build, for example how many times have you seen people looking for recommendations for a plumber on Facebook.

What does this mean for traditional networking? Is the 60 second pitch dead? Not at all. There will always be a place for the traditional networking as, like online, it’s still building a community but what it does show is not one size fits all, and people are the most important element. The 60 second pitch is just an ice breaker a way to introduce yourself and way to spark conversation, a way to give structure to an event.

For many the 60 second pitch fills us with fear. We spend the time not listening to the other pitch’s but rehearsing what we are going to say which we instantly forget as we stand up. So what’s the secret? Well its simple remember that you are part of that community and a community supports each other. Your common interest ‘business’ connects everyone together. It doesn’t matter if your pitch isn’t catchy, or you forget what you planned to say, you gain by being part of that community and just speaking to people with that common interest. Don’t focus on pedaling your product or service focus on building relationships and supporting others. People buy from people. Speak to people in a style that suits you, you don’t have to be loud and confident to good at networking you have to be understanding and sincere, building trust that eventually leads to long term relationships and recommendations. If you don’t speak to everyone it’s not a problem, true communities are not one-off events and you will always find another time, another place another event.

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