4 Keys to Successful Networking
When attending a networking event people often worry about what they are going to say and how they are going to “sell” and get more business. I suggest you kick that mindset to the curb, people will see through that in a hot-second. Be there to sincerely connect and meet with other people. You rarely buy from someone you just meet so don’t worry about “selling”, worry about connecting. Ask questions about them…that takes all the pressure off you. If you feel like you want to engage more with them, then ask more questions, start a conversation, if not politely excuse yourself and move on. Why be on a bad date longer than you need to be.
Attending a networking event is as much about making a connection as it is about establishing yourself and helping others to see how you could build a symbiotic relationship. Be your authentic self and the right people will be attracted to you.
Have you developed your brand? If so how do you plan to present that to others? (We call this the elevator pitch) Can you clearly state what you do in a fun or interesting way in 30 seconds or less? What can you offer them? How can you help each other advance professional goals? These are all questions to keep in mind during your networking experiences. There is nothing wrong with offering someone something once a connection has been made.
Julia Wilson, author on mycreativeinterns.com, said it well. “When networking, always be yourself and confidently share who you are with others. People will be impressed with someone who is passionate, and if you stay in contact you never know where the connection may lead. ”
The Four keys to Successful Networking include:
- Look at networking as a conversation- ask other questions about them, it takes all the pressure off you and helps you build rapport.
- Be who you are- the last thing you want to do is “show up” pretending to be something you are not.
- Be confident, do not feel small- If you feel nervous just smile and ask them a question.
- It is okay to ask or offer something- Once you make the great connection feel free to ask for something or better yet offer them something that will engage them, perhaps you have a free seminar or training. If not, offer them a follow up phone call or coffee meeting to keep the conversation going.
Conversations in networking, should mimic the Tango, a dance characterized by small steps and syncopated rhythmic footwork. Partners find balance in close contact and the give and take of each movement. Listen as much (if not more) than you speak, take one small step forward and allow your partner to meet you in the middle. Listening with patience and understanding the needs of others, while keeping in mind your own needs will help you connect with the right people. Nervous or overzealous networkers may forget this and occupy 95 % of the conversation, BIG mistake! Suddenly discovering how your partner could be of benefit to you is lost. You leave the conversation unaware of their needs, wants, passions. You were unable to detect similarities and building an actual relationship was a failure. Why? Because you did all the talking. Networking is about building rapport. Interactions should be genuine.
Yes, networking events are great opportunities to promote yourself and your business, but they should NOT be an opportunity to dispense as much promotional materials out to as many people as you can. One final piece of advice given by Forbes.com states, “Treat your business card like a credit card, give by connection not by site.” If you are trying to make genuine connections with people, then these are words to live by.
Successful networking can make a big difference in business and career development. Shared success with like-minded individuals can be yours if you follow these tips to making sound connections and build lasting relationships.
Dream it. Live it. BE it!
© 2012 Inspired Living, LLC
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it:
Keri Murphy and the Inspired Living team is on a mission to empower people to use their unique talents in a way that allows them to Dream, Live and BE all that is possible through speaking, coaching, celebrity interviews and original on-line content. Get Inspired at inspiredliving.tv