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The Benefits of Networking

Just thought I would share with you something that happened last night.

There was a business achievers event run by Ulster Bank in Waterford. I wanted to go as I knew that Sandra Hart, the Director of European affairs with BNI was going to be on the panel. The theme was marketing and social media. So even though there was snow forecast and it was an hour long drive I decided to go to spread the word about SunZu!

When I arrived (a half an hour early) the guy who had interviewed me two weeks ago on the radio was there. We started chatting and the organizer came over and introduced himself. He asked what I did and I told him I was the Women’s Ambassador for SunZu, a new social and business network.

‘You are just the person we need, the social media expert from the panel can’t make it could you step in please?’ Karl Fitzpatrick from South East Radio then said ‘no better Woman!’ So…..I ended up on the panel! Wow! Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

So I was on the panel with Sandra Hart and two others, one of whom, Tom I regularly tweet with on twitter! @kidsfunpacks so it was a great evening, I could answer all of the questions asked and even managed to encourage a start up in the audience to stand up and tell us what he did. He was delighted as he had a chance for Ulster Bank to hear about him and all 50 people in the room also! He has since connected with me on Linkedin and is joining SunZu and coming to my Young Entrpreneurs Event on Friday morning!

The benefits of speaking at events

  • 50 + people heard about SunZu for the first time
  • Ulster Bank now know about SunZu
  • Everyone came up to me at the end to chat and ask about SunZu
  • Lots of Women took down the date of the first Women Entrepreneurs Alliance event on 26 April in Dublin.
  • So that is potentially 50 new SunZu sign ups when it goes live plus the other 10 folk they will tell about it!
  • Sandra Hart from BNI also knows what I am like speaking so am on her radar!

Benefits of networking

  • Networking always creates opportunities. Like it did for me last night
  • Sharing knowledge: Some people know about grants available etc that others wouldn’t be aware of for example. Something like funding entitlements can make all the difference to a business starting out
  • Connections: Even if I don’t necessarily have a need for your product or service, I have family, friends, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews etc who might!
  • The people in that room will help you promote your service, by word of mouth after meeting you
  • Building relationships. (I met Karl before as he interviewed me, so we had a cuppa together. That is one relationship worth nurturing as radio is very powerful
  • I met three people for the first time ever who I had regular contact with on twitter! Nice to put a face to the name

What can YOU contribute?

Networking has many benefits, not the least of which are the great people you will come to build relationships with. It really makes for a pleasant experience.

I personally enjoy this and have developed many great friendships. It’s always nice to have friends who have your back. One lady who I met for only the second time,(she is in touch with me regularly on Facebook and twitter), told me never to be stuck if I need a bed for the night or get stranded on the road if I am in the area! Wow, now there is a kind offer. She told me not to waste money on a hotel!

A couple points of caution:

  • As you build your network of friends always think about what YOU can contribute and how you can make the online life better for others
  • Guard against spending too much time on social networking sites, find a balance and keep your most important projects in focus

Are there other benefits of networking or methods that have served you well that you would like to share?

By Samantha Kelly. This post originally appeared on www.sunzu.com. You can view the post here.

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  • fionan

    Samantha came to the gig as a audience member. We had a last minute drop out from the panel and were told that Sam was a whizz on social media. She ended up on the panel and was one of the stars of the show!

    This blog sums up what these events are all about. Thanks again Samantha

  • http://twitter.com/supplyIE supplyIE

    Well done Sam! Delighted to be reading about your continued success. Go #irishbizparty !!!