Network to Net-Give?

How do you decide which of those invitations to networking events, to accept? Alyssa Jade McDonald discusses...

There are a lot of networks out there.

Business networks, women’s networks, networks for networks and if you or I accepted all the invites we got, we would never do any work. There is a lot of network-ed support out there.

The thing that will get me to accept an invitation to an evening seminar, networked event, or ‘please sign here’ event is when it’s offered by real people.

How to choose where we spend our time needs to be considered alongside:

1. Is the invitation/event engaging or is it from a robot? Did you get bot-ted / or spammed into this? Just because you’re on the mailing list for XYZ is it really a genuine call out to you, or did you get just scooped up in the by-catch? (Apropos XING and Linked In events fit in my category of deep sea trawling).

2. Are these ‘my people’ – do you think, from the outset, you’re going to have small talk about the weather, or do you think you can really present a business problem and have a real discussion with someone about it? If yes, proceed. If not, DELETE the mail.

If you think you’re genuinely invited AND it could be from ‘our people’, then we have a reason to pack the evening shoes in our day bag before heading off.

The greatest part about networking events is the possibility to give; whether this be your inspiration, ideas, contacts or help. A great network in Germany who does this on the front foot is Ladies Mentoring. Here, when you turn up, business cards are taboo and everyone gets a little pad of paper with 4 sections on it that you can fill out and share with someone:

* Feedback you want to give them;

* Contacts you want to share;

* Help you have to give;

* Your contacts.

I love this idea because it’s less about ME ME ME look at MEEEE and more about how we can make this moment of small-talk a quality exchange that brings benefit.

You and I are probably very similar; we have NO time, and even less time for wasted time.  So be careful when you next accept an invite for something ‘fabulous’. I think these are the two mindsets that turn a date in the diary from ‘oh I can’t believe I have to go to that XYZ tonight’ to ‘oh cool, this could turn me on’.

Enjoy. Business cards aside, hearts forward and let’s get back to enjoying engagement. Because every moment we are networking, we are NOT in our business, and NOT with our family… those are two very big sacrifices. 

Image courtesy of:

Alyssa Jade McDonald-Bärtl is a 3rd generation social entrepreneur, but the path to evolving a Change Maker wasn’t so easy as she spent a decade in giant corporations working for profit and became seriously ill with stomach tumours. She gave it all up to start a social enterprise in Ecuador to re-invent how we know chocolate as her example of how food systems could be better and how nutrition can be gastronomy delights as well as health-ful.

Lyss regularly speaks at events in business and corporate responsibility, from the Middle East to Europe to India. She has been a regular writer for business portals, trend magazines, while carving out chocolate expertise. Lyss created single bean virgin chocolate, which has been labeled by culinary chefs and sommeliers from Europe to the Gulf as “the most pure chocolate in the world”. As you travel along with her too, you will come to know this yourself. Read more about her here.

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