Don’t Simply Show Up: Making Networking Work

We all tend to look for a silver bullet. We sometimes fool ourselves into thinking we can wing it and get great and consistent results. As someone with has built her career through meaningful, long-term relationships, I’m here to share that just showing up is not enough.

What’s more important is how you show up.

Are you clear, confident, open, enthusiastic, and emanating an irresistible energy that draws people to you and your business?

If not, you’re likely wasting your time, energy and money at networking events.

The good news is it only takes a bit of thought, planning and follow up to make networking work for you. You can do much of this while driving to your next networking or social event.

Practice my top 10 tried and true network building tips to make networking work for you.

1) Have a clear and concise description of your business. One that a child could understand. One that conveys briefly how you help people, who you help, and why you do what you do.

Ask: Is your message so clear that the recipient will automatically think of folks who need your products or services? ( Secret: The listener will ask you questions if you are being clear. If your message is falling flat, or you receive a puzzled look, revisit and adjust your message until you garner a better response.)

2) Pay attention to others. We all love to share our passion and want to be truly seen, heard and appreciated for ourselves and our work. Practice active listening. It’s the first opportunity to demonstrate your interest and support.

3) Pay attention to your feelings. Certain folks will light you up, others not so much. That’s ok. Give folks a sincere chance and then invest in those you feel inspired to get to know.

4) Have a clear intention. Are you attending a function to learn? Make friends? Fill a program or event? Grow your list of ideal clients? Set a clear intention that includes outcomes.

5) Be ready for people to ask you how they can help. Seasoned networkers understand that being helpful to others is a strong foundation for building a meaningful relationship and sets the law of reciprocity in motion.

6) Ask more interesting questions. My recent favorite is “What are you looking to do differently or better this year?” This sets the stage for a more meaningful conversation and connection.

7) You don’t have time for a one-on-one with everyone you meet. Intuitively and thoughtfully decipher who to add to your e-mail/invitation list (ask them for permission), who to send a quick let’s stay connected note, and who to schedule a one-on-one. Block office time after each function to do this quick exercise and follow through immediately.

8) Adjust your attitude. Choose to have fun. Fun makes you more attractive and dynamic. Get your mojo on, even if it means power posing in the parking lot or bathroom stall before an event, to ensure you are showing up as your best self.

9) Don’t continue to go to groups or events you do not enjoy. It isn’t doing you any favors.

10) Take accountability for your results. There are thousands of opportunities to network in our community, but only you, by implementing these tips, can make your efforts productive and profitable. If you are frustrated with networking because you are not getting the results you want, it’s up to you to turn it around.

Here’s to fun, interesting, productive and profitable networking! Practice these tips at our monthly Coffee Connections discussions and Excelerate Evening workshops and let me know how you fare.

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