In the second half of the twentieth century, the concept of networking was promoted to help businesspeople to build their social capital. In the US, workplace equity advocates encouraged business networking by members of marginalized groups (e.g., women, African-Americans, etc.) to identify and address the challenges barring them from professional success. Mainstream business literature subsequently adopted the terms and concepts, promoting them as pathways to success for all career climbers. Since the closing decades of the twentieth century, “networking” has become an accepted term and concept in American society. In the 2000s, “networking” has expanded beyond its roots as a business practice to the point that parents meeting to share child-rearing tips to scientists meeting research colleagues are described as engaging in “networking”.
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We will be joined by LoveBrum, a registered charity that supports hidden gem projects across Birmingham that are often volunteer led and that deliver real change. Chairman Tim Andrews and Trustee Saleem Ahmed will share the valuable impact individual and patron membership, fundraising and volunteering makes, enabling them to support up to 12 projects per year. Every penny raised stays in Birmingham and goes straight to the chosen causes. LoveBrum encourage everyone to get involved and unite businesses and individuals across Birmingham.
At many networking events and situations you will have the opportunity to give a presentation to the assembled group. This is a wonderful chance for you to demonstrate your expertise in your specialist area, your positive confident character, and also to pass on some useful information.
If I ran a networking group, More Business Network would be my inspiration. The energy in the room is amazing. Group members look out for each other, their well-being as well as business links & contacts. Sharron Goldstone Director, Plus Size Network
Aim high and big when thinking about and expressing yourself and your aims. Be realistic of course, but aim to be the best and to lead in some way, in whatever specialisms and market-place you operate.
The Oxford Business Network has been established since 2009 to offer networking based on the fact that ‘people buy people’. We have regular breakfast meetings, but also run social events and tours of local businesses, where the members continue their interaction, building awareness of their expertise and developing relationships.
Last year, our members did over £1million of business with each other Make this year your year to have a share of it. Take your share of the money that changes hands every week at our regional business networking events. ONE MONTH FREE TRIAL Try any or all or events for a month FREE. All you pay is the cost of your meal, we want to make sure that you like what you see, realise the benefits of membership and get value from your time spent with us. find out more Breakfast & Lunchtime meetings to suit your diary There are 13 events per month to choose from and, with meetings from Newport to West Wales, there’s one not too far away from you! Corporate Membership Options So it is the business not the individual that is the member, this means that any of your decision-makers may attend our meetings, which gives you the chance to cover all our regions should you wish.
N.B. In some situations your speech may flow smoother by inverting points 3 and 4, or combining them. If your organizational structure is complex do not attempt to explain it. The other person is not interested in this level of detail now – they just need to know where you operate, and an indication of scale.
“Everything I know about business I learnt from BNI” Lawrence Conyers, Anson Corporate Media BNI is quite literally the best way to build a better business. We can help you seize the opportunities to take your business to the next level: making it more profitable, more effective and more successful than you ever thought possible. Everything else is just random networking. More Profitable – Your fellow members become your unpaid marketing team, actively seeking new business for you. More Effective – BNI’s structured, supportive and professional environment is the perfect place to gain practical advice, learn valuable new business skills and achieve best practice. More Successful – Word of mouth is still the best way to win new business. BNI shows you how to develop relationships built upon trust so others can confidently refer new business to you.
You should also be continuously open to unplanned networking opportunities, which can arise at any time. Business people are mostly normal human beings just like you. They have social lives, they travel, go to shops, sports events, restaurants, pubs, concerts, etc., and do lots of other things that you do too, quite outside of work. Paths can cross in the most unexpected places. You will find and develop connections in these unplanned situations if you:
I’d been intending to join the DBN for a long time but it was one of those things I never quite got around to doing until recently. Now I’ve attended several networking meetings I wish I’d joined sooner. DBN members are friendly, passionate about what they do, helpful & welcoming. The fabulous food supplied by the host venues is an added bonus too.
I’d been intending to join DBN for a long time but it was one of those things I never quite got round to doing. Now I’ve attended several networking meetings I wish I’d joined sooner. DBN members are friendly, passionate about what they do, helpful & welcoming. The fabulous food supplied by the host venues is an added bonus too.
This is a new place to share and encourage WIBN members with business advice, tips, articles, useful blogs and information to support women in business. If you have won an award or want to share press coverage you have received, you can also share it here.
What members and guests say “I cant praise Business Network (Central & East Lancs) highly enough. It offers just the right blend of formal and informal networking and, crucially, a good mix of organisations to build relationships with. Weve made some excellent contacts and some really good friends.” Chris MacphersonChapelfield PR
The guest speaker for June’s event was Bart (B.D) Dalton II, sharing insight into his True Gravity process. Author, business owner and guide, B.D. Dalton, spent 20 years building businesses in the US and UK to 1000 clients in a 4 year period in each country building million pound businesses. He learned so many tips and tricks and secrets and has written True Gravity to give you insights and save you from who B.D. calls Blackholes and other obstacles to your success. B.D. Dalton’s True Gravity presentation helped attendees focus their energy to get back the time and energy to do the things in business they want to do – and achieve more profits.
Consider that all sorts of professional people outside of the business community can also be very helpful networking contacts – for example, scientists, lecturers, educators, councillors, etc. When developing your networking plans, think beyond the people you’d typically see at other business networking events. Some of the most important connections are not business people, and consequently you need to be creative in reaching them. The examples of networking situations/methods below provides help with this later.
”“ Derwentside Business Network is a great network to be a member of as everyone is so friendly and helpful and always there for any business advice if you need it. The meetings are always different, informative and quite often fun . I would recommend joining the network to all SME’s in Derwentside. Jackie Oxley – Director, Oxley Pratt Accounting Ltd
Conferences Conferences are full of people with common interests. Coffee breaks are an ideal time to make introductions. Exhibitions Exhibitions are obviously full of business people with a common interest. Most exhibitions rightly do not like visitors to canvass the exhibitors, but there are plenty of other situations to meet people and network. Seminars Seminars attract business people of all sorts. Again there are usually coffee breaks which are ideal for making introductions and getting to know people. Training courses Open training courses are excellent for meeting other business people. Many will encourage informal networking among delegates because this adds value to the quality of the event; certain types of training bring people together in work teams, making it extremely easy to get to know all attendees very well. Chambers of Trade or Commerce All towns have at least one ‘chamber of commerce’, specifically to bring local business-people together. Many run networking events and/or other meetings and activities which are ideal for networking. Breakfast networking clubs Several companies run regular breakfast networking clubs as their primary business. Other companies will run one-off events to connect with the local business community. These purpose-designed events obviously provide a good opportunity to engage with other business people. Business networking websites Since the development of interactive website technology in the late 1990s there are increasing numbers of online business networking organizations. Each has its own culture and systems. Some are vast, covering all types of business imaginable, for example linkedin.com. Others are industry or trade specific, and some are geographically focused. All can be found quickly and easily by searching the web. Website forums Website forums exist for every subject you can think of. Each offers a networking opportunity for the subject matter concerned. Website user groups User groups are a further variation of groups found online. User groups are typically within the websites of major internet corporations such as Google and Yahoo. Many user groups are highly specialised, and by implication, internet networking is second-nature to most of these people. Professional body websites Every profession and trade is represented and connected by at least one official body, which tends to act on behalf of its members, and also offers various opportunities for outsiders to get involved and make helpful connections. Interactive special interest websites Networking has been made much easier with the advent of interactive membership websites. When you have identified your target groups, there will be a specialist membership website somewhere which represents and brings them together. Community social websites Facebook is the obvious example. There are many others. Culture and demographic profile are different in each. Some of these websites and memberships are vast. Bigger than countries. This is because of the social aspect, which might initially be appealing, but making a business impact can be very challenging due to the scale of these operations. Online/mobile communications applications Twitter is the obvious example. New internet platforms like these can grow from nothing to be hugely popular social connection systems in just a few months. Business people can use them to good effect if approached in a very dedicated and technically informed way. Otherwise they can become big time-wasters, so beware. Local networking events Anyone can set up a networking event, so you can find isolated or more permanent networking operations cropping up at a town near you. Speed networking events Speed networking is a highly structured type of networking event, in which an organizer (there are several, of varying type and quality) coordinates quick introductions among a group of typically between 20-40 people. The concept is similar, and probably modelled on speed-dating formats. Societies and associations Every specialist subject has its own society or association. These organizations offer various ways to meet their members. Institutes for industries Every industry has its own institute or similar. Various events and methods generally exist by which outsiders can engage with the institute’s membership. Lectures and talks Lectures and talks occur widely, held or promoted by various organizations for all sorts of purposes. Obviously a lecture/talk will attract a common grouping of people interested in the subject concerned. Universities and colleges Universities and colleges are like little towns in their own right. Some are like quite big towns. They are also now run like big businesses. These communities contain a vast number of very interesting people, many of whom are very relevant to business. For the past twenty years or so, these big educational establishments have been increasingly keen to engage with business people of all sorts. It’s a matter of talking to them and discovering what opportunities exist for getting involved. Hospitality events Corporate hospitality events – a rarer thing in modern times – are typically organized by big corporations to get to know their suppliers and customers better. If you find yourself involved in one of these it will present some of the best conditions for business networking that you will ever experience. Fill your boots, as they say. Shareholders meetings If you have company shares, especially in a big corporation, you will tend to meet a lot of business people at shareholder gatherings. Many shareholders do not invest just for financial reasons – many invest because they have an enthusiasm for the company’s technology or culture, which in some cases can offer a relevant target group for your business networking aims. Annual General Meetings AGMs are by their nature a regular occasion offered by corporations and membership organizations to engage with its members. Some are very formal and tightly run with little networking opportunities, but others are more sociable affairs, in which case if the group is relevant to your aims, and you can become a member it’s worth consideration. Conventions Conventions are organized for all sorts of special interest groups. If the group is relevant to your aims in any way, then their convention could offer excellent networking opportunities. Pressure groups Pressure group meetings are strongly connected and usually attended by very active and energized people. If the subject is relevant to your aims there will be opportunities to meet some interesting people at this sort of event. These situations often also have scope for volunteering and becoming involved at a strategic level. Public meetings Public meetings are held for all sorts of reasons, for example local planning consultations; presentation of local development plans. These events attract business people, especially if the subject relates to commerce, as many will do. At meetings like these, most attendees sit and listen for quite a while, and consequently are ready for conversation during breaks and at the close of the meeting. Product launches Product launches invariably offer at least one situation when attendees stand and mingle together drinking tea/coffee. Some have receptions afterwards. If you are able to attend one of these events where the subject is relevant to your aims, then you will find opportunities to network. The same applies to book launches and similar publicity events. Opening ceremonies Opening ceremonies, especially for notable new buildings, attract many local business people and dignitaries. If the community concerned is relevant to your aims this sort of event can provide useful networking opportunities. The same applies to unveiling ceremonies, especially where there is a reception afterwards. Festivals and shows Festivals are organized for many interests, and naturally attract a large group of people with related involvement, including business-people. Agricultural and county shows are a further example. If the subject is relevant, there’ll be networking potential. Foreign trade visits Local chambers of commerce, regional development agencies, and similar business bodies routinely organize trade missions and gatherings to promote international trade for their region and/or members. Such activities offer excellent networking scope. Sports clubs Lots of business people enjoy sport, and enjoy mixing sport with business. Golf is the stereotypical example for sports club networking, although all sports, and other special interest clubs, tend to have many business people in their membership. If the group is relevant to your aims and you enjoy the activity concerned, consider becoming a member yourself. Other clubs Clubs exists for every hobby and interest you can imagine. Instead of sitting at home watching the TV, join a local club that interests you, and meet some new interesting people. Pubs Not all pubs are good for networking, but some are great, because they are the regular haunts of local business-people. For a very long time indeed, lots of business has been done in pubs. Trains, boats, planes, etc. Business-people tend to travel around a bit. When you are travelling too, keep your eyes and ears open and be ready to start conversation. Delays are particularly useful for making introductions. So are long plane and train journeys when you could be sat next to another business person for several hours. Make the most of these opportunities.
The principles and techniques of business networking are mostly common sense. Many of the behavioural principles apply also to business and relationships generally, and specifically to selling, managing, coaching, facilitating, etc.