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Networking is hard work; only with a canapé in hand, instead of a blackberry.

What we are now finding is the ‘pitch and thrust’ of the business card and handshake is on the decline in favour of a new, more genuine style of meeting and greeting. It’s called netweaving and it takes the ‘work’ out of networking.

For as long as the power breakfast has been around, networking has followed a well-worn model: attend a networking event, mingle and distribute business cards widely. The goal is to meet the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time.

Networking events are often broad in scope and aren’t usually tailored to the individual personalities or businesses involved. Networkers will be lucky to find one or two individuals who have similar business goals, ethics or views. As a result networking can often feel impersonal, inauthentic and hurried.

So, is anything tangible actually achieved through this networking model?

Unless you are able to build genuine relationships with people, you will never build their trust. The same logic applies for business relationships. The scatter gun approach of traditional networking at best creates superficial relationships without the depth to last.

What is netweaving?

Netweaving is a new style of driving business development through relationship building. The term has been around in the US for a few years and has started to grow in popularity in Australia, appearing in non-traditional business connection groups and even as a hashtag on social media.

At its heart, netweaving is about creating genuine and targeted connections. The focus is on quality rather than quantity. This means smaller and more intimate events where attendees are able to engage in a genuine way.

The organisers of netweaving events ensure attendees share similar goals for their business direction. Events are focussed on honesty and transparency, with a sense what is shared during events will not go beyond the room.

This creates a safe space where people can be up front about their goals, values and successes and find likeminded people who can share in the journey.

How can you achieve netweaving success?

Here are a few tips on how to be a successful netweaver:

  • Don’t go to an event just because everybody else is. Attend events which are valuable, appeal to you and align with your business goals.
  • Do your homework when it comes to choosing networking groups to ensure they are relevant and present opportunities for you and your business.
  • Don’t make promises to people you meet at events with no intention of keeping them. If someone who you have nothing in common with asks to catch up, politely decline. It saves you both valuable time and energy.
  • Think outside the box when it comes to events. Breakfast with three or four people who understand what you do and are aligned to your business is more valuable than attending an event with a room full of strangers.
  • Loose lips – you guessed it – sink ships. Netweaving relies on keeping peoples’ confidence and building trust.

Building mutually beneficial and long lasting relationships with people is a key way to business success. By tapping into groups who share your business goals, values and interests, you are much more likely to meet people who you are aligned with and who can contribute to your business’ success.

About the author

Janine Garner is the founder of Little Black Dress Group, a supportive and nurturing global network which helps members to achieve their business and life goals. She is a passionate advocate for women and female leadership in the workplace and believes that significant cultural and corporate change is still needed to see the advancement of women in leadership positions.

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