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  • Writer's pictureClaire Venus

The Power of Networking

Updated: May 13, 2022

Ahead of The Big Culture Northumberland Co-working Day on Wed 22nd June ,I made contact with Jeni Smith from NetKnow.

Jeni came recommended, runs a company called NetKnow based in Durham and makes powerful bite size videos to share with us why we should be making more of our networks.

I can't remember the last time I did any networking in person but the online world has opened up so many connections for me. I was really interested in Jeni's take on networking and invited her to write for Culture Northumberland.

I'd really recommend you follow her free content online and read her top tips for networking here.

Who are NetKno and what do you do?

NetKno is a networking agency based in Durham, supporting professionals, academics, charities and creatives all over the world to get more from networking opportunities.

Founded by me, Jeni Smith (Hello!) we teach networking skills – remotely, in-person, through pre-recorded content and online courses, and we create networking strategies through consultancy and via our strategic networking platform using our academically researched networking ecosystem.

We also provide the North East with a networking event listing that brings all the networking opportunities happening in the region together in one place.

Why do you feel passionate about networking?

Networking can change the world! I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true. When people come together and talk amazing things happen – ideas are sparked, connections are made, knowledge is shared, and people inspire each other.

We all network, whether we go to networking events or not, connecting with other people and building relationships is basically all networking is. And where would we be without our relationships? Lockdown really highlighted how important being connected to others is, and not just for our businesses.

Networking has so many benefits including business development and sales (that’s what people usually associate networking with), but some of the most valuable outputs of networking are the human connections it provides us. Building meaningful connections, support networks, and relationships that we can rely on has a huge impact on our mental and emotional health as well as the success of our organisations.

We’re naturally scared of networking ‘stranger danger’ and all that, so networking can be daunting for a lot of people. I want to help everyone tap into all the wonderful benefits networking can bring so no-one misses out on sharing their story and learning from others.

How often should we be networking in person and online?

It’s important that networking works for you, and that includes your schedule. Between running your business, finances, house work, kids, and trying to maintain some level of personal care networking can often feel more like a chore than the valuable asset it is.

Be selective over the events you attend – commit some time to giving different events a go, see what you enjoy and that works for you, and then stick with it. Networking takes time and consistency is key so it’s much better to attend two or three events each month consistently than popping in and out of loads.

Since lockdown online networking has really taken off, so we can network from home saving valuable time and travel expenses. However, I would recommend doing a mixture of online and in-person – online is great for meeting a large volume of people, however we don’t get the same depth of connection we do networking in-person.

What are your top tips for networking?

  • Be strategic in your approach so you know you’re investing your time and energy into the right events.

  • Be consistent and remember you’re playing the long game here.

  • Never disregard people you meet – you never know where they might be in a few years’ time, or who they might know.

  • Nurturing and tap into the network you already have, it’s not just about meeting new people.

  • Network your network by facilitating introductions between the people you know.

  • Be kind to everyone, try to add value, and before you know it you’ll have referrals and recommendations flying in.

You can download a free whitepaper on The Art of Strategic Networking HERE

Find and connect with Jeni online

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