- Do you avoid networking events like the plague?
- Do you go to networking events only to eat more cheese than you should and come home with no new leads or opportunities?
- Do you hide in your room during breaks at conferences and events to avoid the whole thing?
As professionals (whether you are in business for yourself or not), you must get into the real world, shake real hands and connect with people; but that is easier said than done.
For years, I would come home from networking events feeling drained, empty handed and with a feeling of not being enough. Everybody was doing great work, except for me. My hands sweat every time I was asked about my work and to avoid the whole thing, I always spent more time asking the other person about their work so that I would not have a turn.
But once I figured out how to effectively network in a way that felt aligned with who I am and that people could resonate with, everything changed. I not only began to enjoy it, but I also began seeing the impact in my business.
So here are three strategies that will help you not only enjoy, but also use networking as a powerful business growth strategy:
- State The Problem: Leading the conversation with a short statement of what you do, the problem you solve, can be a magnetic way to engage with people. All you want is to get the listener curious enough so they ask to learn more.
- Anchor With Your Passion: Once the listener asks for more information, then and only then, get into the emotional space of your work. Share a case study that moves your or your personal story of how you came into this work. Connect with your emotions about your work so that the listener can connect emotionally as well.
- Guide Next Steps: Aim to end every interaction with clear next steps. While handing out a card or a flyer can be a good strategy, I prefer to ask for their business card or information and I will make a note, right there, of the conversation or what they are interested in and I let them know I will follow up. This is the best way to take the leadership role in the relationship and lead the conversation.
While the world has gone digital, we are still human beings working with human beings. The more you connect with other people, with their needs and their emotions, the further you will go.
People like to work with people they know, or at least with people who know people they know.
PS: Want to learn more how to stand out? Download my FREE EBOOK “Stand out the TED Way”