You never know who knows who
Yes, formal networking events can be daunting. Overtime however, I have come to believe that real networking is not just an isolated activity that you only do at 'networking meetings' but is part of our everyday lives. Let me explain.
During a tedious train journey I got chatting to a fellow passenger, as I often do. Conversation turn to the inevitable, 'So what do you do?' and I explained that I am a freelance editor. My travelling companion sounded interested so I talked a bit more about my work, and what I enjoyed about it. I was quite taken aback when she asked for my telephone number but I handed her my business card as we got off the train.
I didn't think any more about it, until some time later when I got an email from a stranger. That stranger turned out to be my travelling companion's friend, and, to cut a long story short, we ended up working together to polish up her book, which she has recently submitted to an agent.
Of course not every chance conversation will result in business but you never know where it might lead. My point is that you don't have to face a room full of suits to network. And it's not about spouting your 'elevator pitch' at every passing stranger unlucky enough to come within range, either. It's simply that being friendly and talking to people is good networking. Ask them what they do and they'll probably reciprocate. Also always carry your business cards with you - you never know when you might need them!
By Sue Browning Editing and Proofreading Services