Networking - it's not just business suits and meeting rooms
Take a business networking meeting with accountants, personal trainers, business service providers, training providers, web developers and magazine editors and your first thought would not be outdoor adventures.
First impressions might lead you to believe that this group of random businesses would have little interest in such a venue. However, enthusiasm for the adventurous activities on offer was high - with many people expressing a desire for a follow up event to try out kayaking or high ropes sessions.
Perhaps it's our rural location which delivers such a high number of adventurous mindsets? Maybe people who are naturally inclined towards the outdoors have chosen their home and business locations to be in a setting which suits their interests?
Whatever the reason, it was a pure pleasure to spend time on my business with such a like-minded group of people.
When working with individuals who were starting their own business, I found that business networking was one of the most terrifying experiences that they could imagine. Networking was seen as an ordeal to be endured, or more likely to be avoided at all costs.
Successful and enjoyable networking may just be about finding a group which suits you and your interests. When we ditch those preconceived ideas around the people attending, forget selling, and just chat to the person in front of us (the real person, not the business persona), perhaps the whole idea of networking becomes something quite different.
For me, I find that walking facilitates a much more productive discussion than standing around in a meeting room. It might simply be because I love being outdoors (my best thinking happens in the hills). However, I'm more inclined to think that chatting while walking gives us a focus and switches off the conscious mind so that conversations flow more naturally.
So, if you think that networking is not for you, it might be worth forgetting about those formal business meetings in traditional locations and check out something a little different.
Search for "net walking" on Google and see what comes up in your area.