Networking, or simply Connecting

connectIt’s interesting, for so many years we’ve been told to get out and network, to build a business, as it’s where you’ll meet new clients and get referrals. However for so many people and women especially the idea of networking and even attending an event by yourself brings on a cold sweat and fear, often so much so that they don’t attend or seek desperately to find someone to go with, which often defeats the purpose of networking.

But, recently there’s been a lot more talk about connecting, not networking, and really isn’t that what we want to do in business, make great connections. So why don’t we scrub the word Networking and talk about Connecting.

So with this in mind to get you started, I’ve put together some tips to help you do just that.

When you go to an event, make sure you go with a purpose, this is something you need to think about prior to attending an event. Are you going, to connect with like minded business professionals, are you looking to build relationships, to be introduced to someone who can help you in business or personally, to find a mentor, to find new clients, to learn something, or to be surrounded by people who inspire you?

Depending upon the event you attend, will obviously change the questions you ask of those you meet, but irrespective, the best advice I’ve received over the years is to be interested in the person you are talking to. No-one wants to know all about you and how great you are or especially, as is often the case at a typical networking event, to be sold to!

So instead be inquisitive, ask questions of the other person. Things like: What do you do? How did you get into that role? Tell me more about it? People love to tell you about themselves, and that way you might just find you’re talking to someone you want to know or who may be able to connect you with just the person who can help you in business. It’s often about who they know, not what they know.

From there, get their business card and connect via LinkedIn, always of course with a personalised message, reminding them of where and how you met them and why they would want to connect. This way whenever they want to find you again, or you them, you’re already connected. See my previous post on this.

With this in mind and to help women in business connect, JBS has teamed up with Leaders and Lattes to provide a relaxed but energetic way of connecting. As women in business we need support and inspiration and while many networking groups sit and talk about their professional dreams and aspirations, Leaders and Lattes members stand up and make it happen.

Over the past four years our inspirational speakers have included Ita Buttrose, former Qantas chair Margaret Jackson AC, Edible Blooms founder Kelly Baker-Jamieson, the incredible Dr Nicole Yap, fabulous Rachael Robertson and two time author Karen Gately amongst many others.

You can find out more about Leaders and Lattes here 

And to help women in finance connect more easily in Victoria and in a relaxed, friendly and safe environment, the AFA Inspire team have started a new monthly series called: “Bubbles and Troubles” or B&T for short. The aim is simply to connect women in financial services, particularly members with each other, whilst discussing a topic of interest that can help inspire those around the table. We started the venture back in May and hold them at various venues in Melbourne’s CBD on the first Thursday of each month.

The groups are small and intimate, we’ve capped the numbers attending to 20, so that everyone can get a say, meet those around the table and make meaningful contacts and conversations. Our topics have included:

Creating a great company culture – May
How and why to enter awards – June
Debunking the myths of mentoring – July
Work Life (in)balance – August
Resilience – September

Learn more about becoming an AFA member and specifically how to join the AFA Inspire community here.

So over a glass of bubbles and some nibbles, we invite women in both business and financial services within Victoria to come and join us, make great connections and learn something along the way, we promise to be friendly and have robust conversations, ensuring everyone is included.


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2 Replies to “Networking, or simply Connecting”

  1. The personalized card.

    Taking it a little step further, I have enjoyed mailing cards to certain people I’ve met at a conference event. Of course, depending on how deep the conversation went, or especially if they did something to help, I will mail a Thank You card. Often including a photo that someone might have taken of us together. Generally people from across the country attend the larger annual industry events. If I connect to someone, and find during our chat they’ve never been to my city (New York City) I will be sure to mail them a hello card with a landmark photo. I’ve mailed post cards to others who’ve never been to my city including a reminder note of our conversation during the conference where we met. Its got to be genuine but wow, what a powerful impression it will make on the person receiving your greeting “hand written” card.

    Thanks for sharing your Blog post Jenny!

    Cheers from NYC 🙂

    Marty Morua

    • Thanks Marty, love the idea of a personalised card for people who have never been to NYC, such a cool idea.
      So often we forget traditional mail as a great connection tool
      Jen 🙂