by Ariana Devery

With the world switching online, staying “connected” as a business is a breeze. Our ability to communicate, collaborate and share information online can provide meaningful workplace efficiencies. However, staying “connected” isn’t always about having an online presence; often the best way to form and develop real professional relationships is to get offline and connect face to face.

While networking events aren’t for everyone, it is important to realise that who you know can really impact what you know. When we take the time to invest in our network, whether from home, at work, in bursts, or through regular calendar events, our business can flourish. Connecting with like minded people can keep us inspired and relevant. It can also offer avenues to meet with potential mentors, partners, clients and ultimately provide us with a resource that can foster personal growth and development. It is more than merely meeting people and exchanging information; networking is about forming meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships as a powerful business strategy, because planned or not you never know where you’ll be in another year or two.

Finding the right social setting to network can be challenging depending on your goals and personality. The key is to find the types of networking settings that play to your strengths and set time aside to actively integrate this into your routine. Professional associations are often a good starting point to meet people within your industry, however, consider that our ability to network isn’t limited to work related activities. Networking opportunities are everywhere: at our morning coffee shop, during a weekend sporting match, with friends and of course with family. In fact, our ability to work at expanding our business profile is available to us every day anywhere. It doesn’t have to feel forced, self-conscious and exhausting; in fact, it is more productive when it is relaxed, authentic and well-placed. Making the time to step away from an online presence to be physically present, to meet and to build professional relationships in person, can lead to deeper relationships with clients & collaborators, and contributes significantly to building successful business endeavours.

Real communication skills and an open-minded approach are invaluable in the pursuit of understanding; listening and being present during personal interactions are skills which are vital to any profession. Meeting with others regularly can be good not only for idea generation, for mental health and networking, but is critical to a successful business. “Often, the better connected we are, the more likely we are to succeed,” Sarah Kathleen Peck.

From the POWE Architects Team, to all those who have been and still are a part of the Powe network we’d like to thank you for being a part of this 20-year journey and look forward to what’s to come.

If this article has inspired you and you live in the Brisbane area, the below list (not exhaustive) offers some readily available networking groups.

Built Environment

Architecture Institute of Australia (AIA) CPD http://sitefinity.architecture.com.au/cpd-events/queensland-cpd-events

AIA National Architecture Conference https://wp.architecture.com.au/conference/

Meetup (search anything!) https://www.meetup.com/

The Arc Agency https://www.thearcagency.com.au/

Asia Pacific Architecture Forum (APAF) http://aparchitectureforum.com/

Design Institute of Australia (DIA) https://www.design.org.au/

BrisBIM http://brisbim.com/#about

Women’s focused groups within the built environment

National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) https://www.nawic.com.au/

Women in Design and Construction https://widac.com.au/

Parlour https://archiparlour.org/topics/mentoring/

Mentor Walks http://mentorwalks.com.au/about/

Sporting groups

Team Brisbane Sports https://www.teambrisbanesports.org.au/

My Community Directory https://www.mycommunitydirectory.com.au/Queensland/Brisbane/Sport/Sports_Clubs?PageNo=1

Sport Up https://sportups.com.au/

Charity groups and Volunteering

Volunteering Queensland https://volunteeringqld.org.au/

Vinnies CEO Sleepout https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/

3rd Space https://3rdspace.org.au/