Networking is a buzzword you’ve probably heard thrown around since you started working in your career. While you’ve heard of it, do you know how and why you need to network?
Networking has a lot of preconceived notions. Some might have never gotten value from it. But it’s important to understand it’s not throwing business cards at each other. It’s the creation of long-term mutually beneficial connections with people.
“All opportunities in life come from people,” says Thom Singer, a growth leadership speaker.
The people you know can help provide opportunities, customer leads, job openings and new solutions to problems you’re facing. Rather than going into an event thinking about meeting 10 people, Singer suggests looking for just two individuals that you can help. Other people will eventually want to connect with you because you provide value.
Singer says it’s important to not be a networking vampire. Ask a lot of questions and take interest in what the other people are saying. As for where you can network, there are many options.
If you or your staff are looking for peers dealing with similar struggles as your company, there is no better place to find them than at industry events such as LANDSCAPES. At LANDSCAPES, there are a number of scheduled opportunities where you can meet and discuss.
The Welcome Reception on Oct. 19 will be a time you can connect over cocktails before heading out on the town together for the evening. On Oct. 20, peer-to-peer specialty discussions will be available. Also on Oct. 20 and 21, the popular Breakfast with Champions will be held where you can learn about best practices and new trends from successful industry leaders
Also, you never know who you’ll end up connecting with in the halls between education sessions or in the hotel lobby after a long day. NALP has a number of other events throughout the year where you can also meet with other landscapers like Field Trip.
If you’re wanting to make connections online, NALP has a number of free networks you can join like the Women in Landscape Network, Young Professionals Network and Latino Landscape Network.
These groups feature individuals who share their ideas and experiences in the industry and provide connections outside of your company.
“I have been a part of this group for little under a year now and they have helped me grow as a professional, become closer to my coworkers, start new relationships, connect me with an amazing mentor and most of all find my femininity again,” says Jenny Girard, area manager at R.M. Landscape Inc., about the Women in Landscape Network. “I feel this is a safe place, a welcoming space for all to open tough conversations and real insight to hard situations. What I love most about this group they look for solutions, they bring people together to help solve some of the leading issues in the industry for women.”
It’s also a good idea to stay involved with your local community and network with the leaders and other businesses in your community.
Wade’s Lawn Service, based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, is a member of their local Chamber of Commerce and co-owner Deborah Wade says they attend lead exchanges and she also serves on the board of the Business Referral Network.
“Being consistent in that group causes people to be able to trust you and when they trust you, they want to do business with you,” she says. “That has helped our business grow a lot.”
They also participate in the organization Leadership Goodlettsville, which has allowed them to foster relationships with individuals who are in the local government.