The Power of Networking

What is networking?

The exchange of information or services among individuals, groups or institutions; the cultivation of productive relationships for professional or social contacts.

Networking is not always about how many people or business cards you collect at an event or how many Facebook, twitter or Instagram followers you have. Networking should really be based on the question how can I help and not what can I get? Networking can be a very useful skill to have if done properly. Below I give some tips of what I have found to be useful as I attend many events and functions.

Start in your own backyard

Start with who you already know – cultivate existing relationships and contacts. Go through your social media contacts like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and see if they have friends or who are of interest to you. If so ask your contact for introductions.

Body language & presentation

If you are going to an event where you get the opportunity to network make sure you dress appropriately for the occasion. People make impressions about you on how you appear and behave.

Be authentic

Always be yourself don’t try and be someone else. We all have different talents and abilities but God made us unique which means each of us has something special to offer that no one else has. Know your purpose, your gifts and talents and use them to your strength. When you are true to yourself it shows. Be driven by your passion or interests – it’s easier to start conversations.

Be purposeful & specific

Before going to an event or reaching out to a contact, it’s important to ask yourself what you want to get out of the interaction. You must have a goal in mind. Is it just to get introduced to a person? Do I want advice? Or Do I want to offer my skills or promote my business? Be specific and have a clear goal in mind when you approach someone it will help you to communicate clearly about what it is you need.

Focus on high impact conversations

Develop a 60-second elevator pitch to quickly communicate who you are and what it is you’re looking for. Keep it simple and short and always ask questions–ask the contact if they have time to chat more over coffee in the future, or if you can elicit some advice. Remember, networking is a two-way, mutually beneficial relationship. If you’re at a networking event, don’t get stuck talking to one person for too long–keep focused on memorable conversations with as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. To gracefully move on to the next conversation ask for their contact information.

Attend events regularly

The more you do the more comfortable you become. Try and attend new events so as to grow your networks. If you’re shy ask a friend to go with you. Like all things in life invest in it Relationship building takes time, effort and commitment. Remember some grow and some go.

Follow up within first 24 hours

When you meet someone interesting follow up with an email immediately after the event and have a purpose e.g. lunch, coffee, phone call, LinkedIn, Facebook. Schedule regular follow ups for those you want to get to know better. Try and make the follow up within 24 hours of the initial contact not only does this show the person you are interested but it shows commitment.

Personal & professional don’t always mix

Consider arranging your contacts into group’s e.g.  Spiritual, professional, personal. Sometimes the contacts you meet in a professional capacity are not necessarily contacts you would like to mix with on a personal level. A good example is Facebook do you want all your professional contacts knowing your personal business? Sometimes mixing these relationships can be harmful. Try and differentiate them and be clear as to the purpose of each contact.

Give first

Don’t have an expectation of getting something in return. Network with the goal of helping the other person. Jesus says it best Give, and [gifts] will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will they pour into [the pouch formed by] the bosom [of your robe and used as a bag]. For with the measure you deal out [with the measure you use when you confer benefits on others], it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6: 38 AMP)

Be bold & brave

You will be surprised how others at these events feel. Don’t go to a networking event and sit in a corner or only talk to someone you know. Remember that at these events everyone is there to meet new people. Everyone has some fear and apprehension you may not be alone.  Take the initiative.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  Being a great networker means not having fear when it comes to approaching others who have achieved great things. When you’re engaging with others, people will recognize that you’re not fearful, and they’ll embrace it.


Listen more than you talk! People love to talk about themselves, and you can’t learn about the other person if you’re doing all of the talking. The key is to build an ongoing relationship so get to know the person. It’s not about the number of people you connect with but the quality.


Pray for God to open doors and bring the right people your way. It’s not about you but Him. We are blessed to be a blessing.

Elevator pitch exercises

An “elevator pitch” is a 30-second speech that summarizes who you are, what you do and why you’d be a perfect candidate for ………..? Your pitch must be targeted to the other person and answer the WIFM (What’s in it for me?) question. So be sure to focus your message on their needs. Write a script and practise it on a friend until you’re confident to say it.

Written by: Fadzi Whande

Fadzi is the founder of the Whande Group. Her work with migrant & ethnic communities has gained her national recognition. She is a People of Australia Ambassador and sits on the board of Carers Advisory Council. She is past board member of Women Aglow Botswana. In March 2015 she was nominated to attend the 59th session on the Commission of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York as a member delegate of UN Women Australia.