Find A Warmer Way To Network
Few things are more important to growing your business than honing your networking skills.
Sadly, most people shudder at networking events and groan about the meaningless exchange of business cards and boring small talk about the weather while they keep an eye peeled for the one person they all came there to meet.
For many entrepreneurs and business executives, networking is a bit of a farce. They lost heart in it years ago and just go through the motions
What a mistake that is.
I say that because such a healthy portion of my new business each year emerges from my successful networking efforts. When I tell others that, they express surprise.
Perhaps it is because I do it differently.
When I am going to a networking event, the first thing I do, at least two weeks before the event, is try to get a list of who will be there. You will be surprised at how easy you can figure this out.
If it is a Chamber of Commerce event, for example, and you are securing a table for your business, you will get a map of all the other businesses on the floor. Often there is a contact with that.
If you are at a conference, you will know in advance who the guest speakers are, and they should be among your key targets. You will also know who the presenters are, and sponsors.
Once I gather some intelligence, I sit down with LinkedIn and start checking out profiles. Who is doing business that I might have something in common with? Whose business could likely use my services? What group might like to target me as a motivational speaker?
I never walk into a networking event with less than 10 targets, and then the fun begins. Like a networking sleuth, I circle the room, checking out groups, seeking those who have the most potential for long-term relationships.
In this dating game, I don’t want to leave without a second date lined up. But not everyone has time for a coffee next week. So how can I build an excuse to have a follow-up exchange? Cinderella perfected this technique when she left her glass slipper, but I’m fresh out of those so I have to find a more creative solution.
If you read my blog regularly, you know that I read a lot and on a wide range of topics. When I am researching a networking target, I also research the kinds of reading they would be interested in. What is a hot topic in their industry? What does the latest special report say?
I read it. Then I can work it into the conversation. If they have read it, then we build a good rapport. Better yet, if they haven’t read it, they are usually interested.
“I can send it to you,” I offer and they gratefully give me their business card. Now I have a reasonable excuse to follow-up with them and not look like a stalker.
Sometimes on the way to seeking your target you stumble on a genuine relationship with another interesting attendee at the networking event. You haven’t had time to research them, but you still have time to listen attentively to their story and use your genuine interest to warm up the conversation.
Networking is hot. If you aren’t getting the warm and fuzzies from your networking efforts, you are missing all the fun and the opportunities that go with it. Warm up your networking style and watch what happens.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion.
24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
Check out Paula’s bestselling books on Amazon: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and her newest release “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth”.
For speaking inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free 1-888-502-6317.