The Importance of Networking

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Hi all!

This is my first OFFICIAL blog post on here.

If you’ve followed me for a while you know that I’ve done free tips in the past. Now that I have a website, I’ll be doing blog posts as my “free tips”!

This thought has been in my mind for a few weeks now and I need to share it.

Talking to people, otherwise known as “networking” in a business sense and “chatting” in regular life sense, is in my opinion, one of the most undervalued tools that we as business owners and members of society can use.

It becomes a problem when we stay within our comfortable groups, form cliques, and don’t venture outside.

Look I get it, I get serious anxiety meeting new people (no one ever believes me, but I’m not as extroverted as you may think). But here is how I look at it. The initial meeting someone takes just a few minutes. Once you break the ice,  you NOW KNOW that person! Stranger no more. You aren’t automatic best friends, but you know at least one person in the room. Now you can easily go meet others, and by the time you leave you will (hopefully) know several people!

Why is networking so important? 

Networking has opened SO many doors for me as far as meeting people in Baltimore, that now when I go to events, I know AT LEAST a quarter of the room. Why is that helpful? Because by the end of the night, I know at least 3/4 of the room because I start talking to people that I knew, who know people I didn’t know. Guess what?  Now it’s not scary to go meet new people. But also, the people I’ve met have helped me in one of four ways. I’m going to explain these in the simplest form, but it really extends so much more than this simple explanation.

Ready?

  1. They had a business opportunity, or collaboration.

  2. They knew of someone who had a business collaboration or opportunity.

  3. They gave me advice that helped grow my business.

  4. They helped build my network.

Let me explain number 4 in more detail. As a business owner who does social media and marketing, it’s essential to know the right people who can help my clients. When a client comes to me and wants to know more people in their industry, I know EXACTLY who to connect them with, to get them help, exposure, industry tips, whatever it is that they are looking for in their business.

But for someone who is just looking to connect, networking will not only open up opportunities for you, but it will get you into the Baltimore Community. Getting into the Baltimore community will not only give you a sense of belonging and purpose, but it will also help you grow as a person AND business. Then together we can make meaningful change, and help each other grow too. What does this look like? Just saying hi to people when you are at different Baltimore events. It doesn’t HAVE to be a networking event specifically, you can actually networking anywhere that you go!

Something important to remember:

#COMMUNITYOVERCOMPETITION always. We can all help each other grow. Try to keep this mindset too when networking, because we can all succeed together, it IS possible.

It’s as simple as finding something to talk about that happened at an event, or giving a compliment to the person, seriously. It’s THAT easy, and if they don’t seem that they don’t really want to talk, move on to someone else! Don’t let the fear of how someone else is going to act hold you back, they may warm up to you later, or they may just not be the right fit (I know, easier said than done- but you can do this).

Try it this week. Just give it a week. See what happens.

And don’t forget to let me know if you do!

-SBR

Sarahbeth Ramsey