Blog post by Sarah Salord, Company Director at GEC PR

As we get closer to Christmas and the New Year, our social calendars fill up with invitations to social events and festive drinks. After a long working week, it can feel tempting to decline the invites however this is the perfect opportunity to build relationships with people you may not otherwise have met – usually over a festive glass of fizz. With the social scene turning a little quieter in January, the New Year is also a great opportunity to meet with new and old acquaintances.

As co-owner of a London-based PR agency, networking is at the top of my priority list and one of the most beneficial ways to help spread the word about our clients and our business. So here are my four reasons why it’s important to make the time to network this Winter:

  • It Builds Confidence – It’s not always easy striking up a conversation with someone you don’t know. However, walking up to someone and starting a conversation will build your confidence and help improve your social skills. Most people in the room are likely to be in the same position and looking to meet new people, so find someone you feel comfortable speaking with and politely introduce yourself.
  • It’s an Opportunity to Learn – Meeting people from different professions, backgrounds and cultures is a great way to learn from others. By interacting with new contacts, whether personal or professional, opens opportunities to meet like-minded people who can help share their knowledge. It could be what’s happening in your industry, upcoming trends or new developments related to your business or even finding a mentor who can help with your career development.
  • It Makes You Visible – Whether you’re looking to expand your business with new clients or looking for job prospects, networking is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Meeting new people opens the door to new opportunities whether that’s for business or personal reasons. The more people know about your expertise and services, the more recommendations and offers you will receive.
  • It Expands Your Resources – Networking can help find suppliers and grow the services you provide. It could be a designer for your website, accountant, copywriter or marketing expert. Meeting in-person is a great way to find out if the business relationship is compatible and the first step in building trust in you and their expertise.

Networking is not just about building and nurturing long-term relationships with like-minded people and brands. It also helps to build confidence, support personal development, and create opportunities to learn and grow from, it’s an essential skill for everyone.