Networking. No single word finds such mixed emotions among professionals. Some of us absolutely love networking. Others would rather do literally anything else. In fact, if you could wave a magic wand and provide them with all of the benefits of networking without the hassle, they would take it. The reality for business owners and professionals is that you need to build relationships with other professionals to grow, and you should enjoy it. You should know how to network with purpose.
How do you network that way? We’ve found that most anxiety about networking comes from people just not understanding how to truly network with purpose. So we’ve assembled these four key tips to help you out.
1. Be Authentic
Too often we go to networking occasions and events trying to play a character. This only makes us feel uncomfortable. We find ourselves trying to live up to an image we created for ourselves, and we often feel like we’re imposters because of it. The answer is simple, just be yourself. Being authentic and honest with who you are, as well as what you do, is the easiest thing to do, and you will enjoy networking so much more because of it.
2. Build Relationships
Have you ever gone to a networking event, agreed to a meeting for another day, only to find that you are sitting down for a sales presentation? The temptation for networking events is to treat them as lead generation sources, but people don’t like to be treated as leads. When you deal with people you need to build a relationship. Networking is not about immediate wins, but about long-term development for both parties.
3. Seek to Serve
People who give tend to receive much more. It’s a simple law of the universe. This is the best way to start building a relationship with someone, by seeing how you can help them. Honestly, it’s often easier to ask people how we can help them, rather than asking them to do business with us right out the gate. Next time you’re networking, ask how you can help them, you won’t be disappointed.
4. Stay in Touch
One of the worst things you can do is meet someone, set up a second meeting, then drop off the face of the Earth. It’s the single best way to make someone feel like they don’t matter. Granted, it can be hard to keep in touch with so many people, but if you are building genuine relationships, you have to stay in touch with people. It doesn’t take much, just drop them a quick call, an email, or a text, ask how they’re doing and just see what happens from there.
Here at the Chamber, we’re here to guide you to business success and amazing growth! We believe in the importance of planning ahead to ensure future success. Joining us is a great way to help that growth and create valuable networking experiences! Check out our Events calendar to connect, grow and learn with us. We hope to see you there!