July’s Networking Tip – Active or Passive – Which Are You?

June 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Networking Tips | Leave a comment
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antFirst and most important principle of networking?


As I describe in the post about Laurenne Dorgan – Phenomenal Business Through Athena but That’s Not All…. when I first started networking, I expected everything to happen instantly and for my business to grow just because I’d shown up and shaken a few hands. I was building relationships wasn’t I?  I was being nice, smiling, listening etc. So why wasn’t the business just rolling in? Thinking about it now, it’s embarrassing.  I’d done the easy bit but had failed to grasp the other principles of networking that would transform a “nice chat” in to something meaningful.

  • Give to others first and freely (ie not just when there’s something in it for you)
  • Be trustworthy (if you say you’ll do it, do it – no empty promises for the sake of saying something)
  • Invest in & nurture your network as a whole & your connections as individuals (it says more about how you do business than any promotional material)

In other words, I was being PASSIVE when I needed to be ACTIVE. So, what does that mean for your networking?  Take a look at these lists and see which category you fall in to….


  • You attend meetings if you can but if you get too busy you don’t worry about not showing up one month
  • You have a couple of people you’ll call to hotseat if you can’t make it but if they can’t do it, you stop looking
  • You prepare for the meeting on the morning you attend, and sometimes you don’t even do that
  • You rarely ask for one-to-one’s (121’s) and if you do accept someone else’s invitation you may cancel it at short notice or turn up late
  • You follow up with someone weeks after the meeting or possibly not at all – if they really wanted your business, they’d contact you….


  • You treat every networking meeting like a potential client pitch.  You showing up prepared and energised demonstrates how important your network is to you.
  • If you really can’t attend, your hotseater is well briefed, knows you and your business and does a great job to represent you and your brand.
  • You have prepared for the meeting several days in advance. Your call to action is clear and concise. You have studied the attendee list to see who will be there and how you might be able to help them.
  • You schedule between 1 and 3 121’s (or 122’s, 123’s) meetings every month because you know that, even if it’s not clear immediately, you may be able to help that person and they may be able to help you.
  • You follow up with every contact in a timely way and more than once if necessary. You know that the way you follow up outside the meeting shows others how you respect your potential customers and how you run your business.
  • You invite new people to visit your network to keep it energised and productive.  You know that this demonstrates your commitment to the group as a whole as well as to your individual contacts.
  • You’re always on the look out for people you can introduce to others in your network.

So, which are you?

By Stephanie Smith, Stephanie Smith Coaching

Thanks to Lisette Howlett from Sandler Training for her Athena Central London Blog Post which inspired this article.

Phenomenal Business Through Athena But That’s Not All…

June 28, 2013 at 11:54 am | Posted in Member Stories | Leave a comment
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When I first started out on the networking circuit, I expected immediate results; new clients signing up on the spot, referrals and recommendations to all their contacts, big corporate opportunities landing at my feet etc. etc.

When that didn’t happen in the first month, I told myself that networking didn’t work and I took myself off and sulked behind my laptop for a few months.  Funnily enough, that didn’t help!

LaurenneIf only I’d met Laurenne Dorgan from PBS Services, she’d have set me straight instantly!  Laurenne is a prolific networker.  She is a member of several groups and, at virtually every meeting, new clients sign her up, provide referrals and/or give her glowing testimonials for her work.  And she does the same for others.

Here she tells us how she makes her Athena membership work for her and her business year after year.

Q: What made you join The Athena Network originally & what makes you renew every year?

I’ve been an Athena member for 6 years and I belong to two groups, I also belong to BNI and have done for 11 years (since I started my own business).  I find it is important to build relationships and that is not done by just joining a group for a year.  You need to be in it for the long term and build long term relationships and support your group.

I joined Athena because I wanted to join a women-only networking group that was serious about business – Athena has a structure which I like too and I find that women like to do business with other women.  Very powerful things can happen and great connections can be made.

Q: How do you use networking to grow your business?

I have a monthly structure for my networking and I always attend every meeting, I put all the dates in the diary at the beginning of the year so I never miss a meeting, I always try and bring visitors to the group and I always try and connect and give referrals

Q: How would you quantify the business you’ve gained through Athena?

The business I have had through Athena has been phenomenal, but it is not just about the business, it is about the whole support structure, the training and the long term friends that I have made which makes it so important to me.

Q: What advice would you give someone thinking about joining Athena?

JOIN! But you must take it seriously, do your 1-2-1′s, always attend every meeting, stick at it and don’t just join for a year, bring visitors and enjoy every meeting.

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