Janice Porter, Networker and Connector Extraordinaire, kindly shared this article with me. All you shy, hesitant, or wall flower business owners out there must read this! Successful networkers make it a habit to SHOW UP and are visible.
There are so many networking events every week, morning, noon and night and it can be very overwhelming. So make sure you choose the events that will make the most sense for you, and then attend regularly. After awhile you will notice that people start to recognize you and you will make new contacts, build relationships with others, and start to show reliability.
As you attend events on a weekly basis people get more comfortable with you and start to feel like they know you, even if they don’t. It gets easier to start a conversation with someone, and start to build a relationship. It’s also important for furthering existing relationships too.
Now it becomes more than just showing up, and it is useful to come armed with some questions to help put others at ease and start them talking about what interests them. One of the things I pride myself on is remembering names and usually something about the last conversation I had with someone. People are often surprised, and impressed that I remembered. I know it helps show that I care and makes others feel they can trust me. I don’t say that to show off, merely to give an example of good positive networking.
I have come across people who are skeptics when it comes to networking. They think it’s a waste of time and would be more productive being in their offices. So, consider this: if you attend just one event a week for a year – let’s say 48 weeks (we all need a break sometimes) – and you make 4 – 6 new contacts each week. At the end of the year you will have 192 – 288 new contacts. Now keep in mind that if you actually grow the relationships with these contacts it’s really more than that – it’s 192 – 288 networks…. The power of leverage kicks in. It all starts by showing up. Once you get into the rhythm of networking, then you will be able to raise your skill level, and become an active participant, asking thought-provoking questions, engaging issues, and involving others in conversations.
But that’s another whole topic!