How much time do you spend on your networking?

As we all know, networking can play a major part in the development of any business and it is particularly important to small and medium sized businesses. The time we spend on expanding our networks and making those all important connections is precious and ultimately can add value to your bottom line. And like anything worthwhile, you get out what you put in. So it makes sense that spending time on your networking can produce greater returns on your membership.

Unfortunately, many people confine their networking to what they do at group meetings or events, when in fact it is what you do outside of that room that can make the real difference. At BNI you can fall in to the trap of becoming a ’90 minute member’. This is someone who participates in the meetings but doesn’t contribute outside of them. Is it coincidence that these members often do not receive the level of referrals that their proactive colleagues do? No, it is not.

A good networker will follow up outside of meetings and make a proactive contribution to the group. This could take the form of having 121s with your fellow group members, inviting visitors to the group, attending social events or even retweeting the group Twitter account. Time is a precious commodity in the business world, that is true. But if you can allocate a set amount of time to your networking each week then you will see the benefits. A BNI meeting represents around 2% of the average working week. That’s not much is it? Imagine what you could do if you just dedicated an extra couple of hours each week.

At BNI we believe in ‘Givers Gain’. The more you give, the more you stand to get in return. This does not just apply to your relationship with individual networking colleagues but to your relationship with the group as a whole. If you invest time in it’s development and growth, then you become part of a more successful group, which will result in more referrals being passed around the table.

No one is asking you to be a ’24/7 networker’, but if you want real results then make sure you’re not a ’90 minute networker’.

Andrew Robins

Aaron Shaw