For me, one of the joys of business is networking with people whether customers or business owners; meeting new and interesting people lights me up, it energises me. I particularly love meeting people who have a passion whether business, job, hobby or all three combined.
Being a business owner requires that we network and connect. In today’s world the opportunity to connect and network has never been so great whether it be online, in a formal networking situation or in the queue at a shop waiting to pay.
Although I love this part of business now, it was not always the case. The idea of talking to a room full of strangers was daunting, intimidating and downright scary – never mind worrying about how to get them to understand my business and buy from me. It was definitely out of my comfort zone. I realised very quickly it was a skill that I was going to have to get better at, other wise my customers were going to struggle to find me.
My top connecting/networking skills:
Watch and learn
At any formal networking event there are some people who work the room with skill and ease. They talk to everyone they get everyone’s business card and it seems as though everyone want’s to talk to them. Take some time to watch and learn from them.
What is your intention
Whether you are networking face to face or across a social media platform, it is very important to have a clear intention. Do you want to get a sale? Do you want to make people aware of your brand.
Create a genuine connection
You may initially feel nervous about talking to a complete stranger about your business. Initially I found it hard to believe that anyone would think my business ideas were worth listening to. It is worth remembering they may well feel the same as you. Essentially we all want to make a personal connection, to find our tribe, the people who we resonate with. So ensure that you take the time to actively listen and really engage with the person who is talking to you.
“The most important quality is attention – like are you really present, fully present?” she says. “I think you can be fully present even at a cocktail party when you’re standing and there’s noise. Even if you have a two-minute conversation, if you are not looking over to see if there’s somebody more interesting to talk to, or you’re not preoccupied with something else – I know there’s this incredibly overused and abused word, networking.”
Speak from the heart
We all love to listen to someone who speaks their truth, there is nothing more attractive than listening to someone speak with passion. So take the time to think about how you can best describe your business in a couple of sentences.
It has never been so easy to connect with so many people, yet there is a down side to this. If we are not careful we can exhaust ourselves physically, emotionally and creatively. There is a temptation to thinking we have to be switched on 24\7. Plan time to network online and in person resist the temptation to fit it in around other business commitments.
These are just a few tips on how to improve your networking/connecting skills. There are many other factors to consider when networking such as the type of groups to join the mix of people, but that is for another blog post.
Helen Pinnock-Business Coaching offer a full range of services for women who run a business.
Contact me today for help with any of these:
- Starting or growing a business
- Clarity of vision and purpose
- Business planning
- Helping you channel the energy created by the passion you have for your business
- Believe in yourself, your business, learn to trust your instincts and work with your flow
- Keeping motivated and on track
- Create a sustainable and profitable business in line with your values
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