Business Networking Events and their Opportunities

Monday, 12 May 2014
business networking events

Business networking events present a myriad of opportunities but without an effective referrals strategy these opportunities may be slipping through your net. 

Why Network?

Networking has become vital for the growth of businesses the world over.  Networking crosses cultural boundaries and business networking events take place in hundreds of different countries throughout the world each week; despite language and cultural differences, they all follow the same premise of building lasting business relationships built on trust. 

The Networking Myth

The term networking is so often misunderstood, it’s no surprise that the concept of business networking events is also widely misunderstood.

The ‘light bulb’ moment only normally occurs when people attend structured business networking events and see for themselves how networking really works.  The common misconception is that you are networking with the people in the room – whereas in fact you are networking with a much broader cross section of potential clients outside the room – it’s about accessing the members’ contacts and listening to what they’ve got to say rather than seeing it as a sales opportunity and actually using it as an opportunity to really get to know the other people in the room. 

Know what you want to achieve from your Networking

So you’ve identified that your business will benefit from business networking events, you’ve identified the networking group you’d like to join, but ask yourself this question: have you defined your networking goals – what you actually want to achieve?  Remember that business networking events are just the starting point towards your end goal; clear objectives will lead to focused networking activity and focused networking activity will bring with it the referrals you desire. 

Be Yourself

When attending business networking events it’s important to remember to be yourself.  Don’t try and be someone who you’re not – your aim is to build relationships with people in the room; if they like you, trust you and have a belief in what you do, they are more likely to refer you through their vast network of contacts.  If you are trying to be someone you’re not, this won’t look natural and eventually people will realise you’re not being yourself and will be less inclined to refer you. 

Cultivating your Relationships through Business Networking Events

Don’t expect instant returns.  All too often people attend business networking events and leave after a short while due to limited or indeed a lack of referrals.  This can be for a number of reasons, but primarily it will be through a lack of understanding on the need to nurture relations before you are ready to cultivate those relationships and reap the rewards.  Business networking is a long-term strategy that works well but only if it is nurtured and cultivated in the right way. 

The World’s Most Successful Networking Organisation

BNI proudly holds this title.  BNI members are only too aware of the value they place on their membership; not just in monetary terms, but also in terms of the strength of their business relationships. Out of the many different types of business networking events BNI offers a more formalised, structured event bringing together people to build lasting referral partnerships based on trust.  Whereas in more informal networks, where members quickly come and go, you are less likely to be able to build those long-term relationships. 

Riding out the Business Storm

Over recent years the economic downturn has affected many businesses across different continents.  Having a strong referral network that you have nurtured over the years will prove its worth in hard times, not just the good.  Many BNI members have openly stated that they have been able to ride out the recession through the business relations that they’ve cultivated through BNI leaving their non-networking counterparts out in the cold. 

Fix any Holes

To fix the holes that may be in your net, check out where your nearest BNI meetings are taking place and find out for yourself the true value of business networking events at

Business networking events present a myriad of opportunities but without an effective referrals strategy these opportunities may be slipping through your net.