Networking is a tool that will put you on the path towards success. Businesses are grown from the personal relationships we develop throughout our career and being able to reach out and build positive business connections can be the single most important step you can take in building and marketing your business.
So why don’t more entrepreneurs network? Fear.
Remember as a kid being afraid to be the last one picked for kickball and being afraid that when you went to a new school, you wouldn’t make any friends? These memories are with us today as adults and the idea of going into a room of strangers to introduce themselves leaves a pit in the bottom of their stomach and can be classified up there with the fear of public speaking.
I have put together five tips to help overcome those fears at your next networking event because the right connections with the right people can maximize your business position and provide you with insight and opportunities that are guaranteed to boost your profits.
1. Enter the Room Like You Just Got of the Red Carpet!
Confidence is infectious. When you enter into a room like you are comfortable in you skin, smiling and approachable, everyone will be wondering “who is that”. More importantly, if you don’t end up seeking these guests out, they will seek you out. The great thing is that most people in that room do not know you, your background or what you stand for, here is a great opportunity to create the Confident You and live it at your next networking event. The positive energy you will be projecting outward will come back to you tenfold.
2. Remember to Warm Up Before Your Performance.
Most likely your nerves are giving you the jitters and you just made it through the front door as confident as you could be; but are struggling with how long you could hold on to it. Your best course of action is to warm up with a friendly “fan”. After you enter, circle the room (which will also work off an excess nervous energy) and seek out the individual that looks just as terrified as you feel and introduce yourself.
A simple question or observation will do the trick:
“Wow, it looks like we have a good turnout tonight, don’t you think?”
“By the way, I am ______ and you are? What brings you here?”
Once you break the ice with one friendly fan, a renewed energy will surface and you will find yourself opening up to others and finding common interest. Remember to ask a lot of questions and be truly interested in the conversation and the connections will come.
3. Let your Roadies do the work.
As you make friends, bring them along. There is safety in numbers and friends are usually connected. Make it a priority to connect with the people they know. It will ease the fear of the unknown and provide you with something in common to talk about. Once you connect, join the organization and attend the events that your friends do. Before you know it, you have a complete social network of individuals and professionals who you will become more familiar with and more comfortable with.
With each new friend, you network should grow 10 times.
4. Use the Newest Networking Technology.
Social media sites are a great way to communicate and to stay connected during the times between your face to face events. Facebook, Linked In and Twitter are easy to use and a great way to send out blast updates on what you have been up to and to comment on others. In addition to your “offline” networking, mastering social media sites is a great way to leverage your connections, expand your network beyond your local area and build relationships one post at a time.
5. Build Up Your Fan Base -Follow up, Follow up, Follow Up.
You have connected with many people, found common interest and exchanged business cards. Make sure to follow up ASAP. A great tip is to send out your V card which houses all of your electronic information in outlook and can be sent and uploaded into your new connections outlook. If you discovered that this person can help you, make plans to keep in touch over time so you do not lose that connection. Relationships are built one day at a time through consistency, genuine interest and friendship. If you remember all the skills you developed as a child when you found a new friend than you want to use those skills with your adult friend. Always keep them updated on what you are doing, make plans for lunch and offer to help out when needed.
©Kellie D’Andrea & Associates
Want to use this article in your newsletter or web site? You can, just include this complete blurb with it: Kellie D’Andrea is the creator of the BLAST system and publishes “The Marketing Edge” a FREE award winning ezine for small business owners who want to gain the competitive edge with strategic marketing and branding techniques that actually work. Find out the 23 Common Mistakes Most Entrepreneurs make with a FREE report offered at www.KellieDandrea.com.