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Woooah there Nelly – this is a very one-sided question, but it is on everyon’s minds when they head out to a networking event.

You’re paying for attendance and usually membership, and you want to get something back. However, this thinking can often change how you act while at these events. You can potentially become desperate or bullshy, rather than open and friendly. Take a moment to breathe.

Then think of how much you are gaining from networking:

  1. Presentation skills – boy oh boy is that a big bonus.
  2. Knowledge of your business – whether it’s learning how to sell yourself or how to say the right things to perk another person’s attention.
  3. Communication skills – especially important if you offer a service!
  4. New awesome contacts – these help you to look even better to clients, as you will be the go-to person in their network when they need assistance.
  5. Learning from others – their struggles, their advice and their support is priceless.

If these four reasons aren’t obviously helping you enough, then think of how long you have been networking, and what you have given to the people you have met. The well known phrase “Givers Gain” is essential here.

You need to start sharing the people you get on with in your network. Whether it’s as small as sharing a post they have created on your own social networking profiles, to going on to use them for yourself and sharing a testimonial, these people will appreciate it. You also, when you use their service or product, will know if you can recommend them to your all-important clients, to help build your reputation with them too.

I also highly recommend having deeper conversations with the people you meet regularly, a morning meeting every week / every other week / every month, is not enough to build a relationship. Send them an email to catch up, chat with them on Twitter, go out for a coffee…whatever floats your boat to help you get to know them better, and for them to do the same.

When you ask “what am I getting from networking” you need to look at more than the money, and think a little deeper. These people are connections of yours now – how much has that helped you?

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