A foot in the door and smile on your face – How to flourish in networking

As you may be aware, Pursuit Communications is a public relations agency based on the Central Coast of NSW which services clients varying in size and location. How did we manage to secure those clients?  A majority was through networking – and networking on a large scale.

We believe that location shouldn’t be a boundary as to how far your network and networking capabilities extend; in fact we encourage our clients to network outside of their regular circles because we’ve seen the results for ourselves – it works!

With this in mind we thought it was timely to blog about the importance of networking and some great examples of networks that we’ve come across.


Networking should never be about $$$. It should be a place where ideas are encouraged, shared and embraced. Networking should also be a place where people can mingle with other business operators, employees and share their knowledge, experience and build lasting relationships.

One of our clients SBNG – Small Business Networking Group, based on the NSW Central Coast embraces what we believe to be the true essence of successful networking – the opportunity to develop trusting relationships with people in similar positions to those that attend.

SBNG has opened a great number of doors for the Pursuit Communications team and for this alone, we will be forever grateful. The lessons learned through educational and entertaining speeches given by fellow members have also provided opportunities that would ordinarily attract a large fee to hear such insights at any other venue. SBNG members are like minded and offer advice with a friendly smile – which really sets them apart.

Another NSW Central Coast networking group and a new addition to the networking circle is CC Biz – which is run by small businesses for small businesses. The aim of CC Biz is for the Central Coast business community to support one another and help to grow our local economy. As you can see there really isn’t anything to lose by attending a networking function, many groups position themselves as friendly groups – because they are!

CC Biz appreciates that some people may not be comfortable with large groups or meeting a group of “unknowns” which is why their functions are designed to provide guests with the opportunity to network in an informal setting. Open to businesses large and small CC Biz is making great in roads towards the networking landscape on the NSW Central Coast.

Further afield, PRinks is another new addition to the networking circle. Aimed at anyone who works within the communications industry this networking group seems to have found a niche with Gen Y who is ever embracing social media. The first I heard about PRinks was via Twitter via @GemCrowley – a fellow PR practitioner and 1/2 of the power-source behind PRinks – @rogerchristie is the other 1/2! The idea was simple use the “online” world to create an “offline” world activity.

The idea behind PRinks is simple, “Come join us for a great chance to catch up with friends, meet new people, have a good chat, share ideas and enjoy a drink or two. ”  The first PRinks took place at a venue on Sydney’s North Shore, event two will be held in Sydney CBD.

Here’s to PRinks gathering momentum and some life-long members!

Along the same lines PRgatherings is simply a collection of media creative’s who meet in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.

TweetupMellers is another “offline” event which builds its base “online”. Based in Melbourne the group claims they are “Just another place to connect yet over a few vinos, nibbles and a belly full of laughs – in real time-physical time! We all know the power of twitter in lead gen, personal branding and networking so combine this with tweetupmellers and shaaazam – add another power marketing strategy to the business model!”

It would appear there’s an overwhelming theme here – the importance of social networking in real-life networking. Don’t under-estimate the power of an e-mail, blog, Facebook message or Twitter – tweet. As seen through the success of PRinks and Tweetupmellers – social networking can build a real network of people who could potentially turn a simple meeting into business success.

There are a large number of networking groups created for Women. We believe these are the ideal groups for women who may not have attended a networking function before, simply due to the fact that they’ll be surrounded by supportive women, most of who will have been in the same position as you at some point in their career. Our recommendations include; Accelerate Women – these groups go beyond metro cities and encourage women of all backgrounds to attend their groups. Women’s Network Australia is another brilliant outlet, providing women with information and an understanding that life is one constant evolving path. The group aims to empower and encourage women to reach their full potential in business.

Australian Businesswoman’s Network serves women in business by raising their profile, contributing to the achievement of their goals and by providing exposure to a diverse range of business success models. Their goal is to cater to the needs of a widespread number of businesswomen by offering a comprehensive range of personal and business development and networking opportunities.

As you can see there is a large number of outlets available catering to an even larger number of audiences. If you are considering networking, we highly recommend that you do.

Google search for “Networking” and your city or your industry – see what the search returns and take the first step by registering to attend. A lot of groups will allow you to attend the first meeting at no cost and if you’re interested in attending further meetings, they may ask for a small membership fee – which will be well worth the networking and information you’ll receive.

If you are a bit nervous in attending a function alone, why not ask a fellow colleague to attend with you or if you’re a sole operator – try and find other members prior to the meeting and arrange to meet with them so you’ll at least know someone before you enter the room. You’d be surprised at how many others are nervous and you may just strike a common cord with someone – and potentially some great business or a new friend.

Finally, don’t be limited by your own industry, ask clients to join them at a networking function they go to or if your partner has an opportunity to attend a networking function, ask if you can tag -along – the more you get out the more you’ll get back – ultimately the possibilities are endless!

Now it’s your turn – if you think we’ve left a group out or would like to add your own please feel free to comment.

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5 thoughts on “A foot in the door and smile on your face – How to flourish in networking

  1. Roger Christie says:

    Hi Brooke,

    Firstly, thanks for the PRinks shout out – it’s been great thus far and we’re looking forward to developing the idea further in the coming months.

    Funnily enough, Gemma also wrote a post along these lines (http://dennisrutzoupr.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/cheers-the-first-round-a-success/) looking at how online is influencing networks and the benefits of which. I think the interesting point in both these posts is the power of online channels to bring people together. It been good to see various groups like the ones you’ve mentioned continue to pop up and it’s a great way to not only meet new people but also share ideas and information.

    Perhaps the most important factor in all this though is that it is not based on ‘traditional’ networking per se (i.e. trying to win new business) but, rather, a mutual interest in a social environment. Much like the authentic virtues social media is based upon, hopefully these kinds of events will continue to simply connect people as they have to date, no strings attached!

  2. pursuitcommunications says:

    Roger,

    I agree I think networking is slowing shaking off the tag of a place where people are solely there to generate business and moving towards an arena where like minded business people can meet, share ideas in a relaxed atmosphere.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Gemma Crowley says:

    Thanks Brooke for your support of PRinks. Roge and I have been extremely encouraged by so many people in the industry showing their support and jumping on board to help spread the word!

    Networking is important not just for the comms folks, but for people in every industry. Getting out there and meeting new people opens the doors to a myriad of opportunities. Whether it is sharing ideas and experiences, finding new business, discussing similar interests or simply enjoying meeting new people – the benefits are endless.

    Especially in this day and age where everyone seems to be constantly immersed in their twitter account or some form of technology, meeting up with people face-to-face is more essential than ever. It’s great when you can finally put a real face to a twitter handle.

  4. pursuitcommunications says:

    Thanks Gem & Sam – appreciate the kind words.

    Gem – I agree networking should be an important element of every industry’s business model. Networking opportunities should be available to everyone from the receptionist to the CEO.

    Looking forward to everyone’s comments on the next post.

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