I once invited a women banker to one of my networking groups. When she found out that she might have to stand up and tell everyone her name and a little about her business. . . she freaked out and almost decided on the spot not to come. With a few helpful tips, I helped her construct her “30-second connection” and she eventually she became more comfortable speaking about her business and letting everyone know what kind of business leads she would like to have.
Many people are not natural networkers. They become wallflowers. They stand to the side or chow down at the snack table and hope they won’t have to talk to anyone. You cannot stand and simply watch the action and expect any good to come from it. You have to get in the game.
If you are an introvert you better snap out of it. Wallflowers and introverts usually drop out of networking groups and blame everyone else for their failure. When you are networking it’s no time to be shy.
To be a successful networker, you need to be seen at networking events shaking hands, introducing yourself to anyone who will listen, handing out business cards (if it’s someone you want to include in your circle of friends) and generally being friendly and introducing your friends to other networkers.
Maybe networking seems fake to you, or you think it means using people to get ahead. Believe me, it isn’t. Perhaps it would be wise for you to know what is expected of you. Networking is not a time to peddle your wares. It’s not about selling your services to other members although it does work that way sometimes.
Networking is about using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals. That’s it!
Networking doesn’t have to be a cold, corporate activity. Good networking etiquette supports you in simply being yourself and being a good friend to everyone you meet.
Inquire about how others are doing. Take a sincere interest in their life, their work and their concerns. These kind of friends are much more likely to refer business to you if you are their friend first and business associate second.
If a friendship doesn’t seem to be developing naturally, silently shout, “Next” and move on to someone else. Don’t be a wallflower.
Stay connected. Occasionally drop by their place of business for a visit, not to try to sell them on your services but to ask how you can help them with their business. Most will reciprocate and ask you how they can help you. A large part of networking is simply keeping people informed about what you’re up to in life. . . not just your business.
The best way to get rid of your fear is to do the thing you fear. That works! Become involved in the group. Be brave and run for office. Become a leader.
The women banker I spoke of earlier only became an effective networker when she took the first step while she was still afraid. She knew she needed to break out of the shyness shell so she enrolled in the Dale Carnegie course and eventually became a graduate assistant for the course. It wasn’t long after that when she received a big promotion, became vice-president of the bank and later became an officer in her netwroking group.
Networking can do a lot more for you then help you in your business. It can help you become a better person by playing a big part in you own personal growth. Everyone can use a little help in that area.
You can do it too. Let go of your fear. It takes no strength to let go. . . only courage. The thing that you fear owns you. It drains you of your precious energy and keeps you stuck. Break free. The best is yet to come.
Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit ” Networking HQ!”
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