Mentee to Mentor’ is a series of articles featuring budding digital marketers who’ve learnt the practical aspects of online marketing under my mentorship. As part of their internship experience, they came across exciting challenges that they had to solve. And they learnt some valuable lessons that they’re sharing with you here.
Fourth up in the series is Ludovica Marchionni who’s spent well over 7 months with me marketing, promoting and organising Language Professionals’ Networking Event, an independent monthly social initiative. I asked her to contribute to this series of blogs because I believe her experience can help many of us who think about doing networking but are on the fence.
Over to Ludovica now:
Did you know that networking is the number one reason people attend events? A networking event is a more relaxed way of getting to know people and of deepening contacts in an informal context that it is not just about business. Whether it’s an event with 40 participants or 2, the opportunities that can arise are manifold. Have you ever joined an event with little interest but then came back refreshed? The doors networking can open are endless, because when you least expect it, you find yourself in a conversation that brings new ideas and exciting new experiences.
If you have never joined a networking event, here are 5 reasons why you should do it:
1. “Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.”
In a world that changes at the speed of light, being willing to revise your ideas and go down new paths is crucial. By being around like-minded people, you will be able to challenge your ideas and find new ones. New sources of inspiration will stimulate your mind and that will help you achieve your professional goals faster.
2. “Everyone should build their network before they need it.”
It is important to start building relationships as early as possible, and not wait until the need arises. Networking is a long process, which needs to be cultivated with care, dedication and genuine interest. And even when you will feel satisfied with the people around you, you should never stop expanding your network. Always be curious and open to make new contacts because every person you meet, will bring something into your life.
3. “Networking is simply the cultivating of mutually beneficial, give and take, win-win relationships. It works best, however, when emphasizing the “give” part.”
Be ready to be for others what you would like them to be for you. Surround yourself with a network of professionals who are genuinely interested in giving you back the value you give them. Share your knowledge, exchange tips, spread the word, and don’t hesitate to lend a hand when someone asks for it. By supporting others you will also support yourself. Not only will you have a hand ready when you need it, but helping others will have a positive impact on your self-esteem and therefore on your professional life.
4.“If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there.”
Like-minded people are an invaluable resource in terms of knowledge, experiences and opportunities. In order to express the best of ourselves you need others, because as the African proverb says “alone you will go faster, but together you will go farther”.
5. “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”
Creating a dialogue is very important to build relationships of trust that can then evolve into new opportunities. Too many individuals network with the purpose of accomplishing an immediate goal, but that’s not networking, that’s selling. Networking certainly leads to many new opportunities and even new business partnerships, but this is rather a consequence than an objective.
Have you ever thought about organising a networking event? Hosting your own event and giving your customers a meaningful personal experience is a great excellent marketing strategy that always generates new business opportunities. While it might be tempting to rest on your laurels and wait for someone else to present such an opportunity, organising a business networking event might be easier than you think and the benefits of doing so are really considerable. Not only will you have the benefit of making all those contacts, but as the organiser, your profile will be significantly raised.
Since it is your event, you control how everything is done. The style of the event and the way you run it will strengthen your company, your credibility and your position in the market. Your guests will feel part of a unique moment of sharing that will always be associated with your brand.
Moreover, there is no better time than an informal meeting opportunity to reach as many people as possible at once and strengthening the relationship with them: improve the relationship between colleagues and employees, as well as the attachment to the company, and get in direct contact with your target audience of potential customers. After the event, if the person is not a client but you would like to have a meeting with them, you will both be comfortable with an invitation to meet and discuss potential opportunities.
But the best part of considering hosting a networking event as part of your marketing strategy is that you are not being salesy. If the format of the event includes a guest speaker or panel of experts, a topic of real interest to the people you invited or entertainment of some kind, it will be easy for people to accept your invitation because the high value in attending is unquestionable.
Putting people in contact and facilitating the circulation of ideas is one of the greatest favour you can do for society.
That’s why when you invite clients and potential clients to an event that they would genuinely be interested in attending, you are providing them with an opportunity rather than with a concern. And if you want to be a networking superstar, you need to be able to connect and introduce people to each other.
When you realise that two of your contacts would gain mutual benefit from getting to know each other, put them in touch. Even if there seems to be no direct benefit to you. Rest assured that everything will come back to you with interest.
Have you decided to take action? Planning an event requires a lot of organisation and there are a couple of things to keep in mind. If you want to organise a great digital event, stay tuned. In another article prepared by my colleague Anny, you’ll find some practical tips that will help you planning a memorable event.
About the author:
Ever since she was a child, Ludovica Marchionni has been passionate about foreign languages. She graduated in Foreign Languages and Literatures in Italy, where she is based, and she is now finishing a Master’s degree in Languages and Literary Translation.
Since the pandemic outbreak, she has been learning about the world of digital marketing and thanks to an internship at Language Professionals Networking Event she has learned a lot about the strategic and practical side of this world, applied to the online events sector.
Ludovica is a passionate traveller and an avid reader.
Her motto: The greatest waste in the world is the difference between what we are and what we could become.