by Judy Rose –

Two things happened recently that reminded me how important it is to network with an open mind. Some people, when attending a networking event, focus their efforts so that they can quickly move from a ‘non-productive’ conversation to a more productive one. If they had an assistant standing nearby shouting “NEXT,” it wouldn’t be too far off the mark.

But it can be a mistake to think you know what may ensue from any given encounter. Spending a bit of time and getting a more lasting impression of each other is valuable, and may bear fruit at some point in the future.

A few months ago, I was contacted by a woman I met shortly after I joined NAWBO, six years ago. We’d both attended the same mixer and talked a bit during the evening. From time to time after that, we’d see each other at NAWBO events, perhaps nod and say a short hello or wave from across the room. Then I got her call. She had a client who was starting a new enterprise and needed a writer for his newsletter and blog. I never thought of her as a business or referral prospect, just one of many NAWBO acquaintances, but here she was offering me a great opportunity.

Then last week, I got a Tweet from somebody else I met years ago at that very same mixer. We’d had a nice conversation followed by a coffee meeting and a few e-mails, but nothing much after that. She seemed to have dropped off the map. Now, here comes a Tweet trying to reconnect. She’s living in Texas, has a counseling practice, and works with military families. She needs some writing support and remembered me. Even with six years and about 1500 miles between us, we may yet work together.

Think of networking as planting seeds. Some of them take a while to grow, but you may be pleasantly surprised by what blossoms.

Judy Rose
Judy Rose (NAWBO Blog Editor) writes original copy for marketing and PR, websites, blogs, newsletters, and other business materials. She also assists clients by polishing and adding vitality to existing text, and offers a unique strategic editing service called Writing Repair. Learn more about Judy’s blogging services.