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20140806_180249After attending my first networking event, I realized that networking is one of the most valuable uses of my time in terms of return—and not just in monetary terms. Networking is free, most of the time. It’s full of like-minded individuals, and if you go to the right events, it’s full of people that you can work with or learn from in some way.

Last week, on Wednesday 6th, I attended the ICT Association of Uganda “Local Area Network” (ICTAU LAN) meet-up/ networking event at Gatto Matto Restaurant and Bar, Kampala. Again, you do get the odd events where people just end up trying to sell something to you, but this wasn’t one of them.

The ICTAU LAN provided a laid back atmosphere to chat with similar people, and these informal chats often offer many opportunities and potential ways you can work together.

What’s better is that face-to-face networking events create lasting impressions in the minds of people you meet. I mean, ultimately, it’s not about whom you know, but rather who knows you, right?

This can always lead to future opportunities for both parties, in terms of help, advice and business. It can also motivate you go further, take the plunge into starting your own business or just expand your industry knowledge.

You may feel you are too busy to attend these events, but they act as a nice break from being stuck in front of a computer. And sometimes they can count as being at work because you are inevitably spreading the name of your business across an audience that can add value to it—and it’s a great chance to learn something and get ideas.

You will see the value in forming and maintaining a strong contact base, which will serve you well for years to come.

You’re marketing your business and yourself, and best of all you are creating connections.

These events are all about mutual benefits. How can you offer a service or help another? There will be times when you may need help or advice, and you will want to have built a strong network.

Your net worth is only as good as your network.