Last week at the Fast Implementation Boot Camp, I witnessed the magic of networking.
Connections were made, budding friendships and accountability partners started, alliances were formed, and even some possible joint-ventures emerged… all through networking.
Networking is one of the best ways to make powerful connections that can propel your business forward and shortcut your path to success.
Of course, there are tons of opportunities for networking, (too many, actually) some better than others.
But here’s the thing…
You don’t want to end up with a stack of business cards you’ll never look at again or spend time in a room with non-decision makers who are schmoozing you.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your networking encounters:
Find learning environments. Business card exchanges and other networking focused events are high pressure. People are there to meet others for the purpose of doing business, which means their defenses are up. Educational events, such as seminars, conferences and bootcamps are more relaxed, therefore defenses are lower. People are more at ease. Plus, because the most successful people are continually learning, you are more likely to meet high quality like-minded contacts..
Start conversations. Don’t wait for someone to come to you. Sit next to someone you don’t know or cross the room to talk to someone. Strike up a conversation with the person standing in line next to you. Find out what they are working on or trying to accomplish. A simple conversation can turn into ideas, alliances, new business, referrals, joint-ventures, and a host of other opportunities.
Focus on making quality contacts, not quantity. The goal should not be to meet as many people as possible, it should be to build quality relationships. If you are in a conversation that is going well, stick with it rather than trying to move on to meet more people. That said, don’t hang with one person the entire time.
Do more listening than talking. Ask a lot of questions, then listen and respond to what you hear. By listening you may find you can provide a solution they are looking for.
Do your research. Find out about the speakers and what their specialties are before you attend an event. Pick a couple that you want to meet who work in something related to your field, have a similar business set-up or might be able to answer a question or help you with what you are working on. Then seek these people out. To prepare write down three intelligent questions about your most pressing matters. For example, if you are attending SuperConference and have a brick and mortar business you might want to seek out extraordinary entrepreneurDonna Krech with 25 years’ experience, a thriving local brick and mortar business, a national coaching and franchise business, and a direct-to-consumer products business. She is sure to have plenty of answers about what it takes to make your business ultra-successful.
Write down what you are looking for before you go. Are you looking for someone to give you feedback on an idea you have? Similar businesses to compare promotions? A good “power partner” for referrals? An affiliate or joint-venture partner? Advice about a particular business problem? When you take the time to define what you are looking for from networking, you’ll ask better questions and get much better results.
Armed with these ideas, you’ll be able to brilliantly network and use these opportunities to blast your business forward.
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