The Informal Approach to Networking

Last Updated Jun 12, 2008 6:51 PM EDT

Networking can manifest itself in a number of ways. Today I'm going to explore a quite intimate version that can be undertaken without pain in your local cafe or restaurant. It has to do with growing your own network and the network of others.

The premise is this: You know people who others would like to meet. By introducing both parties you stand to strengthen your relationship and grow your profile. Basic stuff, eh. But read on ...

Recently a good example of how simple actions can work for you came up with a coaching client. My client is a designer working with large consumer goods companies. She has recently been in conversations with a small manufacturing company that is going places. In truth, they probably can't afford her services just yet, but my client wants to stay in touch and was unsure how to do this without being pushy.

One solution we explored was to act as a kind of network conduit and introduce the "small guy" to one or two of the "big guys". The former would gain an insight into big business; the latter a reminder of how innovation and stealth can help create a new brand.

Within our enterprises we have the opportunity to generate many such introductions and every time we do so it reflects well on us.

If you are ever feeling a little isolated or disconnected, try booking a couple of intimate networking meetings like this. You'll get to learn a good deal more about those around you and will be reminded that you're not quite the social outcast you maybe thought you were!

After all, everyone loves a matchmaker.

  • Robert Gerrish

    Robert Gerrish is a coach, author and professional speaker and the founder of Flying Solo (www.flyingsolo.com.au), the Australian online community for solo business owners.