Long ago, there was no need for networking as we now understand it. People lived in small, stable communities where their social position and role did not change very much over a persons lifetime. They would know at most around 150 people (which is known as ‘Dunbar’s number’).
Actually “long ago” is not really that long ago. Until the 18th century, there was a largely agrarian society with a small trade sector and although it benefited some to build a wide network, for most people it was an unknown concept.
With the rise of the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries came the need for businesses to collaborate and trust a wider range of people and other businesses. It was not enough to develop a few partners and customers then work with them for the rest of your life, as often happened with simple artisans and craftspeople.
Today we live in a network society where it has become increasingly important to market ourselves both as individuals and as companies. “Contacts are everything” has become an increasingly important concept, both in the formal business network and the private sphere. It’s not how many people you know, but who will remember you that leads to the next project or employment.
Everyone can network. It is just about doing it in the right way. You should start by mapping your existing contacts. As important as it is to make new contacts, it is to maintain your existing.
Online the worlds business community networks through LinkedIn, socially we network through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and similar sites. The chosen few are members of invitation only communities such as ASMALLWORLD and BEST OF ALL WORLDS, both created by Erik Watchmeister. Today we live in a vast social world, multitudes bigger than the Dunbar´s number.
To meet new people in-real-life, pay attention to the next network mingling in your city and attend such events at least once a month. It is important to network in an atmosphere where you feel comfortable, so you dare to look up and initiate a conversation.
Network mingles are often arranged in a way so all visitors feel comfortable. Everyone is there for the same reasons, to network. You should dare to walk up and introduce yourself. Go with friends so you feel comfortable. Dare to ask for help and have the courage to say what you can contribute. Be straight forward. Most people and companies get their best business through personal contacts recommendations and references.
During my years in London I got acquainted with the phenomenon of supper clubs, when I worked with a friend who runs Nomad Chef Secret Supper Club, who at least once a month, open up her home to paying guests.
The guests must give advance notice and will not know until in the last minute where the event is taking place, who is going and what will be served for food. The popularity of Nomad Chef Secret Supper Club lies in the secrecy and the excitement that follows.
When I moved to Stockholm in the spring 2012, I realised that there was an opportunity to create something similar to what I had experienced in London.
We knew that there was a need for a new platform where people could network and meet new people in Stockholm, and return to social meetings after a time when the trend has been that people have met primarily online.
The social network Stockholm Social was created in June 2012 by myself and Roxanne Segenäs. It quickly became an overwhelming success.
Once a month, Stockholm Social organises Stockholm Supper Club where we bring together like-minded people to enjoy good homemade food, drink and good company in private homes and other closed venues in Stockholm. It is a great opportunity to meet new friends in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
The Stockholm Social network obviously requires time and effort from participants. It is not about to becoming best friends. it is about the opportunity to show your interest in other people and dare to launch unpredictable conversations.
Everyone you meet can be potential key person in your future network. It should be fun to network and you do not need to invest so much time to succeed. In our most recent events, more than 150 people have shown up.
To take after our example, start with the contacts you currently have and arrange yourself in networking events at least once a month. But do not forget, that this is not about collecting piles of business cards, but also suggest personal meetings and maintain your contacts that you exist.
The target members are professionals in Stockholm of all ages who want to expand their social and business networks. Their vision is to introduce you to the possibility of Networking and to Success in your career or personal life.