Are you one of those people who’s Networking- Phobic? Perhaps you’ve been attending networking events for a while now and haven’t seen the results you would like to see? I’ve developed 5 easy steps for you to follow to get your networking actually working for you! This is #1.
1. Approach networking from a relationship building standpoint – don’t be a “card collector”
I can always sniff out a new networker (and yes, I will admit, I was one 4.5 years ago!) They’re the ones who approach you, business cards in hand, ready to thrust their card into your hand as fast as you’ll receive it. The conversation always starts with “so what do you do?” And they will usually speak about their incredible business or the new product that you’ve just got to try until your ears bleed. If they pause to ask you a question, you may be lucky to get in a short response before the topic of conversation returns to them. Then they will go back to their office and promptly enter your email address into their email newsletter database and begin the slow, painful drip of unwanted messaging ‘convincing’ you of your extreme need for their product/service, which is of course, the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Ok, so maybe I exaggerate a little, but I’m really not too far off!
What if we all approached it from a different space? What if we all cared more for the individual standing in front of us than the 2×3 piece of cardboard with their contact information? What if going to a networking event was a pleasant endeavor, filled with a series of delightful “getting to know you” conversations and, perhaps, a few commenced relationships? What if you let your intuition (yes, that inner energetic GPS) lead you to speak to certain people and begin to get to know them for the uniqueness they be?
Have you ever approached someone at a networking event and asked “so, what have you done that’s fun for you lately?” or “What’s the thing that has you most excited about life right now?” Give it a shot — try to ask a question that has nothing to do with business and see how that person responds. Then, let your intuition guide you to stay and chat some more, or move on to the next intriguing, authentic being. Chances are, you’ll feel much better about the conversation as a whole and if you’re lucky, you’ll have the beginnings of a great KLT (Know, Like & Trust) relationship — one that may actually turn into a great referral partnership, a friend, or possibly even a client!
I definitely recommend you try out a Behind the Moon networking event; I think you’ll find that this style of networking reflects exactly what I’m talking about! No membership is necessary but there are definite advantages to being a member! Check out the membership application here: BTM Memberships
What do you think? What makes for a pleasant relationship-building experience when you network? Ideas??