Christine Comaford, business woman and  serial entrepreneur said “Networking is marketing, marketing yourself, marketing your uniqueness, marketing what you stand for”.

She couldn’t be more right. However, for some people, they would rather fake a seizure than meet a horde of unfamiliar faces, making small talk with them and meeting a lot of expectations on the long run.

Some people would  avoid the networking session altogether. But is that really a good idea? see 7 reasons  you should consider going to the next networking event you are invited to.

1. To Build Business Relationships

Networking is part of a long term strategy; it’s about creating, building and nurturing relationships that will lead to strategic referrals, alliances and joint ventures. New business relationships start very nicely at business networking events.

Attending the event itself is very important but its only the first step. The fortune is in the follow up. Everything depends on what you do with your new found business relationship after the event. This will turn your new relationship into business opportunities.

2. To Keep Up-To-Date With Trends

When in a room with a number of people from your industry, you are bound to get talking about what has been happening lately. Attending networking events hosted by your industry members, or associations related to your target market, allows you to gain insight into current and future trends, industry challenges and potential solutions. This knowledge can easily give you a leg up on the competition.

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3. To Connect With Key Influencers

It is not every day that you have an opportunity to connect with key influencers and leaders in your field. If you were to walk past them in any other setting, you probably wouldn’t stop them, however networking events provide the environment to approach these people and have a discussion.

It’s important to remember that networking does not end after the event is over; it is useful to send a follow-up email, meet up for lunch or drinks, and connect on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Integrating social media into your networking strategy will take you to the next level of communication with potential customers.

4. To Be Motivated

Most networking events have you leaving with new ideas, inspiration and a sense of motivation. When you are placed in a room with people you consider achievers, it is hard not to go home and wonder what else you can be doing.  Often times, these speakers will give you the boost that you need to take action.

5.    Building Your Professional Team

In today’s ever changing job market, many professionals have been displaced through downsizing and are looking for a position that will take full advantage of their talents.

Networking events can be a wonderful way to meet new candidates. It is a great way to gain an informal understanding of a person and decide if that person can take your business to the next level.

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6. Increase Your Visibility

Networking is more than just a personal promotion and getting more customers. It’s really about expanding on your existing network of friends, acquaintances and customers, and leveraging on their networks.

Going to networking events is an important marketing strategy. These give you the chance to make sure that you get your face and message in front of the right people.

7.    Master Your Message

A business networking event is a great place to be in sync with what your business stands for, it is the best place to practice and refine your business pitch. You have 30 seconds to convey who you are, what you do, what makes you different from others and why someone would want to work with you. You get to repeat and polish your pitch severally which helps you master your message.

Not sure which networking event to attend next? You should take a look at the High Growth Africa Summit which is just around the corner.

This is something you should experience personally.

Apply to attend below.

Feature image via CSIX