People meet in different situations for different reasons. If we question ourselves is that networking, then yes probably it is. Usually people are trying to be close to those who provide them certain fulfilment of their needs. This may sound selfish, but in its basic nature, it is all about that.
In business activities, networking is seen as a socioeconomic activity by which like-minded groups of people connect in order to develop possible future opportunities. What is the need of networking in business? In simple saying, it brings up new business.
Even though it sounds simple, its performance it is not easy at all. It includes people, relationships, and by that we have to keep in mind the psychology of approaching and dealing with the Other opposite to us.
That complex process of relationship building requires social skills of self presentation and usage of specific knowledge. What will intrigue the other person to keep the dialog, what is the appropriate rhetoric that will ensure the next meeting? These are the common question that are present in each hand shake and collecting and giving a bunch of business cards. Networking strategy takes time, money and energy. Sometimes in the most dull events we can meet the most exceptional persons.
Networking for business growth must be strategic and focused. Not everyone you meet can help move your business forward–but everything you do can be driven by the intention to grow your business. You have total control over whom you meet, where you meet them and how you develop and leverage relationships for mutual benefit.
In the past month, Bearing organised study visit trip for a group of business and government people from Östergötland in Sweden to central and northern Croatia. The aim of the study trip was networking; connecting the Northern European people to the right people in Croatia.
The groups profile was that all of them were representatives of the tourism sector – government, tourist offices, local authorities, owners of tourist facilities. Together we visited several places in Croatia where the visitors met different levels in tourism management – from the Ministry level and the National Tourism Board to the small manufactory of olive oil production.
There were plenty of opportunities for intercultural experience exchange – learning process and potential business development. Bearing has its part in this as the third party, as organizer and connector in the background, as we should in our role as consultants.
A lot of business cards were exchanged, a lot of experiences have been heard, but will some of them continue to invest in further development? It now depends on both parties follow-up and willingness to be open-minded and ready to move from each ones corner of Europe and invest the time it takes to develop the new relations further.