Let me just preface this by saying when I talk about networking I am not talking about what we do behind our computer screen, or what we may do in terms of, for example, social media or on our smart phones or our tablets or whatever it is that we use.
When I am talking about networking, I am talking about going out physically and attending some sort of event, some sort of gathering, something where you are specifically there for the purpose of getting to know someone else.
So let me just say there is power in doing that. It’s not a very comfortable experience though. I do get that, we don’t always want to go out and shake somebody’s hand or smile in fifty people’s faces. And if you’re an introvert like me, there is not necessarily an enjoyment around small talk. You just want to get in, have the conversation and get back out.
But what I have come to realize is that it is incredibly important that we intentionally network. Because you have to get your message outside of your current sphere of influence; so you want to make sure that you are deliberately and intentionally networking. If you want to increase your speaking engagements, client count, or just your network in general, you MUST come from behind that screen and in front of faces.
So, look for meet ups, look for opportunities there locally where you live. Check out sites like Eventbrite and Meetup. If there are no opportunities because, for example, you may live in a small town, use those same sites to create one! Put together your own networking event or networking activity where you have the opportunity to get into another room. You want to get in another room. You want to be in front of people who need to hear your message, or who know someone who needs to hear your message. And you’d also be filling a need. Imagine how many other people in your area are wishing that someone as awesome as you would put together something awesome for them to attend! I look at it like this – if it’s something that I’m desiring, there are at least 10 other people near me who are desiring the same thing, but don’t necessarily have the cohunes to put it together. The same goes for you!
One tip, before you go: be intentional about the number of people that you will deliberately speak to at the event. Decide ahead of time how many you want to personally meet, but even more important, decide the type of connections you need and want to make. Yes it’s great to meet people, but it’s even more effective to meet the type of people to which you can add to their lives and vice versa.
Make sure you do that, hold yourself to that standard, hold yourself to that opportunity, shake hands, and let them know who you are and what you do. Talk to them and get from them what they need, to find out if what you have will serve them. Make your conversation one that seeks to serve the person that you meet. If you need help with writing your elevator pitch (because it is a bit of an art to write an effective one), connect with me. I can help!
This week, this month, intentionally network, find the opportunities, or create your own! Where do you plan to go a-networking this month? Let me know in the comments!