I recently attended a CEO luncheon with some of my industry peers. We do this once a month as a way to catch up and to keep one another informed on what our organizations are working on. Since I got there a few minutes early, I decided to use my spare time to update my “to do” list. As most of you know from experience, your to do list isn’t a list of all the tactical, administrative things you need to do. It is often a list of items or projects that need time, attention, and refinement. After giving it a once-over, I saw the additions to my list become more and more daunting. Before the stress had a chance to settle in, my colleagues showed up to the restaurant and lunch was underway.
As we started our discussion of “what was going on in one another’s world,” I referred to my freshly updated to do list. I was bewildered that my colleagues had experience and insight on some of those items I was focusing on. Within a matter of 15 minutes, I had excellent suggestions and direction from those who have “been there, done that.” As I left the luncheon, I remembered how valuable networking can be!
When you expand your networking with industry colleagues, you open up all kinds of new doors. Networking is one of those intangibles that we talk about and appreciate. Personally, it has allowed me to grow professionally for many reasons:
· Obtaining free advice — People like to help people, and they are willing to impart their expertise and advice to those they get to know and trust.
· Knowing who to turn to when you need help — Getting to know reliable contacts that can provide you with what you want or can recommend others is worth so much in time, energy, and money!
· Helping to break down barriers to success — As you develop your contacts, you will find people who have experienced similar problems and can point you in the right direction.
· Raising your profile — Expand your contacts and raise your profile. People will know you exist and will think of you more often because of the connection.
· Uncovering new opportunities — You never know when a contact will be useful and will present new opportunities.
· Establishing contact with likeminded individuals — As you extend your contacts and get to know one another, you will soon develop a powerful network of people you will want to spend time with, share ideas with, and learn from.
· Giving back — You will gain satisfaction from helping others. One of the biggest advantages of networking in business is the increased capacity to help others!
Whether you are going to the Green Industry Conference (GIC), a state association meeting, or lunch with colleagues, bring some items from your to do list and see where the discussion takes you. I bet you’ll have a more insightful outlook than you do now!
Be sure to explore the various networking opportunities at this year’s GIC this month. You can establish yourself at the Breakfast With Champions, focus groups, receptions, workshops, or our new Specialty Group Thursday. Discover what networking can do you for you and your business!