To define networking …

Interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further ones career.

Networking; ugh? Why???

Networking is something people either love or hate – there seems to be no in-between. It is beneficial, and important, to network to keep up to date with others within your industry, and to create new business contacts. Networking can get you further than if you just cold prospected potential clients. By networking, you can start to build a relationship, and even if it may not be the correct person, they know others, and would likely be very happy to pass long information. Why? Because they got to know you, and you’ve established a level of trust.

 

OK, But i’m not a people person and networking makes me nervous. Now what?

If you’ve taken the step, and have looked into an event where you will have some solid networking time, that’s half the battle. Once you have committed, you feel the need to follow through. I myself, (Ashley), can be very shy and get overwhelmed in big crowds at times. Standing in a line to check in? Great place to introduce yourself with those around you. Waiting for a cocktail? Chat with those in line with you and bond over a cocktail! See others that are labeled as first timers? Reach out. Most people are likely to be just as nervous about reaching out, but after the first couple, you start to get into a groove. And for me, that’s when my fun personality comes alive 🙂 Doubtful that anyone is attending an event with no expectation of networking; that’s just weird!

And hey, at least it’s better than public speaking? Am I right, or am I right? 

For those that have heard Roger Haskett speak (Rogers Rules anyone??), he has shared his past experiences with regards to stressful situations. He also wrote a book on how to become a better version of yourself – both audio book and hardcover book! You can details on his book here.

Tips & Tricks

  1. Make sure to smile and this is twofold. Smiling makes you seem more genuine and open, and smiling helps people remember you.
  2. Joining a group of people in the midst of a discussion? Genuinely listen, and then offer some sort of feedback that will engage the group you’ve joined. Valuable feedback or intriguing question, otherwise you’re likely to step on some toes.
  3. You’re in with someone or a group that you would typically prospect to. It’s going to sound crazy but, don’t sell. People don’t want to be sold to. Instead, start building a relationship with them by asking about them and their industry. If and when they start to engage you, you can give pieces away, but don’t push. Make sure the pieces of information you do give, is something that would help them realize your value.
  4.  Really a second part the #3. People love to talk about themselves – we all do. The more interested you are in what they’re saying about themselves, the more appealing and trustworthy you look.
  5. If you’re being introduced by someone to someone else, make sure you’ve got a good first line. Attention spans are shorter than ever. You can change this based on the event you’re attending, so make sure you know who you’re attending alongside.
  6. Feeling the pressure? Head in with a goal to make a new acquaintance or friend. Sometimes we find it easier to work on a personal level. By putting yourself first, you are likely to feel a little more confident and confidence is key.

Are there any other tips you’ve learned along the way?  I myself am finding every event to be a little easier, especially if I go in with the mentality to just build relationships. Not every person is going to be the best prospect for you, but by opening yourself up to more people, with genuine, kind and fun personality, you’re likely to have more doors to open moving forward.

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