Understanding the value of networking

This time of year is always busy. Nuts, even. There are Christmas parties and annual get-togethers and all manner of things. There can even be unexpected work offers (see earlier posts).

Networking is a nebulous thing. It’s intangible and impossible to measure. I’m sure there are many worthy definitions available but in the words from ‘The Sound of Music’ it’s a bit like trying to pin down a cloud.

Networking is essential

In my previous job in community health there was a community nurse who was a really strong and articulate advocate of networking, maintaining that it was essential to make the connections with those doing the same thing, in order that opportunities could evolve. She struggled sometimes to convince her employer that these early meetings with people would produce improved health outcomes for the young people she sought to help. But she always delivered the goods. And sometimes she was as surprised as anyone at the entry points.

Networking in the children’s book industry

Networking in the children’s book industry is a bit the same. Attending conferences, annual lunches and even smaller groups can seem expensive and often purely social, but they are all about making connections, being open to opportunity, in whatever shape it may present itself. At the very least, there is time to spend with friends and associates.

Lunch last week, enjoyable on many levels, provided two potential opportunities to follow up and also some links with new people. Lunch yesterday was across town and travelling on the train I discovered I was on the train that featured the Moving Galleries exhibition. We may have had to change carriages and unseat (gently) the gent sitting beneath it, but I was chuffed to see my poem ‘in the flesh’ on the wall. Of all the trains, on all the suburban lines, we happened to get on this one…

It’s all about networking…