Let’s face it, networking is indeed a huge component to your long-term career success. It opens the door for you to grow in your business as well as personal development, create new partnerships that could lead to profitable and expansive opportunities, and of course, expose your company to different people.
So we can agree that networking and being good at it is an important element to your career.
But what if you’re simply not good at networking? Or what if you’re bad at it and don’t even know it? Now that’s a problem! Whether you’re a rookie at networking or been at it for quite some time, you may not be leveraging networking events in the most effective way that benefits you as well as the attendees present.
The first step to change is awareness, so let’s explore three signs that may indicate you’re not good at networking, and how to fix it going into the New Year!
#1 You don’t attend an event each month
I’m totally guilty of this one. Let’s face it, it can be hard with family, work commitments, etc. Perhaps you believe that going to an event every quarter is a great idea. You’ve never been told how often you should go so you think you’re doing swell with your four experiences a year.
Wrong! The truth is, you need to be meeting new people live and in living color monthly (or close to monthly).
You see, this helps to boost (and practice) your people skills, puts you in front of influencers, and gets you acclimated with the networking environment. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get which allows others to see more of the real you. It’s just a perfect way to increase your personal development and attract like-minded people to you.
How to Get Better
- First, make the commitment that you’ll be attending a networking event monthly. Ponder over the positive gains and how it will propel your business forward.
- Connect with leaders in your niche and local area via social media. They are always promoting upcoming training and networking events so this is the best way to stay in the know while attending events that are worthwhile.
- Search sites that keeps you informed about networking events near you
- Finally, each event presents the opportunity to create massive content for your social media and blog. Take pictures with speakers and event leaders or shoot a live-video. Leverage these chances so you have value to share with your followers.
#2 You’re close to the same 5 people as last year
If you still connect with the same individuals as the year before and have not expanded your circle, you’re not capitalizing on networking events. There’s a saying that goes “your network is your net-worth”. Introducing new influential people in your circle is a strong key to success. This will take you further, faster!
We’re not saying to disassociate yourself from those you met in the previous years. The point here is to constantly be meeting new people and your crowd will continue to change as a result.
Even if you consider yourself to be shy, there are still simple steps you can take to get better at meeting new people.
How to Get Better
- Make it a goal to genuinely connect with at least 2 people per event. Don’t just exchange business cards but find out who they are, why they enjoy doing what they do, what market they serve, their interests, their family. Build true rapport here.
- Create a system where you follow up with people you meet on social media and/or email. Follow up with them immediately after the event (within 24-48 hours), then again every 1-2 months. This is not just a one-time hangout but an ongoing relationship.
#3 You’re just thinking about the sale
This is a major turn off! Approaching someone with the intent of getting them to buy from you or pitch your company is simply annoying and will send them running in the opposite direction.
Also, trying to “work the room” by handing everyone your business card doesn’t work either. It doesn’t separate you from the crowd and your card will only be added to the stack or junk drawer…never to be thought of again.
The key to networking is building relationships! It is a long-term strategy that will pay off big if you cultivate it. When you do it right, you will stand out.
How to Get Better
- Focus on building relationships and sharing with others how you help your market. If someone is interested in wanting know more about purchasing your products or services, then great! But don’t let that be your motive.
- Again, think long-term success Networking is like planting a seed and taking the time to water and attend to its growth. It’s not an overnight process yet will yield tremendous results when you’re consistent.
When you implement these simple yet profound changes to your networking approach, you will excel at networking events. Much success!
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