Connect as a Best Practice
When was the last time you called a business acquaintance just to touch base? Usually we don’t do this as a practice, we only do it when we think they can help us with something or we are looking for a job. How about networking events? It’s a great practice to go even if you don’t need anything.
Networking is not just for people in transition. It makes great business sense and will help you to grow.
8 Reasons to Create a Network and Practice Connecting with People:
- Personal Growth – Meeting new people helps you get a new perspective. Here’s the thing, if you just stick with the people you know, don’t change your perspective, think the same thoughts and continue with the same behaviors, you will not grow. It is a fundamental basic human need to grow. You have incredible potential. Odds are that if you are reading this you already know and agree that personal growth and contribution is paramount. Stretching in this way feels really good too.
- Business Advice – I learned a long time ago from a valued mentor to tap into the resources of my network. It’s not enough to collect business cards or just expand your LinkedIn contacts, you must learn to reach out and actually stay connected. Nurturing your relationships can be done by a phone call, an email or a face-to-face meeting. In any case, when you are researching a topic, tap into your connections and see if they have any advice for you. I have met dozen’s of amazing people who really do want to serve people in their network. When someone contacts me, I in turn give them my best advice. I have a belief that no one wants to see me fail and as I continue to tap into talent and knowledge within my network, I get proof this belief is true. I’ve received incredible support and help on my journey. I’m sure it will be the same for you.
- Partnerships – Know that there are hidden opportunities within your Network. There is no such thing as competition anymore. No two consultants, coaches, yoga instructors, or leaders, etc., are alike! We all have a variety of skill sets, education and experience to draw on. If you are running a business look to your network not only for leads but for partnerships. As an educator I was able to connect with several other training companies, through networking, who I’m now subcontracting with so I can bring in some revenue while building my Emerge Leadership Academy. Find the hidden partners you can work with to grow your business and support each other in the process.
- Connections – Have you ever heard that everyone on the planet is connected by six degrees of separation? It’s the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. So if there is someone that you would like to meet then most likely you know someone that knows someone who knows that person. You are only six steps away from anyone you want to know! And sometimes a connection will introduce you to someone you have no idea you needed to know but can provide an extraordinary amount of value to you. I’ve met a lot of people recently that have been incredibly helpful to me on my journey and I only met them because I asked people in my own network, “Who do you know that . . . ?” You fill in the blank for yourself.
- Revenue Generation – There are many potential clients or customers within your reach for which you can possibly sell your products or provide your valuable services to. So long as you are providing a service that people want, studies say that we’d much rather buy from people we know than from strangers. However, I caution you not to be continuously attempting to sell to your network because people may end up trying to avoid you if you become a nuisance. Learn to take rejection as you put yourself out there professionally and you will reap the rewards.
- Emotional Support – I was around 30 years old when I learned this networking principle. I was married, had a new baby, in a new neighborhood and I had 3 new friends too and of course I worked full time. We were all struggling with the same life issues at the time. I invited them all to my house one day and we agreed to start meeting regularly to support one another. We decided to meet every 2 weeks and call each other in between meetings if we needed emotional support. This is when I began to rely on people outside of my family. It was a Godsend! Our little group grew to include seven awesome women. We have now been meeting for over 25 years and have seen each other through thick and thin. We are always there for each other and I can’t tell you what a comfort it is to know that I have these women to count on for emotional support. Start your own group, decide on group norms and make it happen. The benefits run deep and you will develop a network of emotional support that will last a lifetime.
- Confidence building – It may be more challenging for an introvert to attend a networking event than an extrovert. My husband Paul is an introvert and he told me to give introverts this advice: When you are alone networking in a crowd, use your intuition to pinpoint another introvert in the group and go speak with that person. Inevitably you will find each other in the crowd and have a great conversation because you have the same sensibilities. If you meet even one great connection you’ve done really well. To build confidence when attending networking events, remember to go with a service mindset and focus on what you can give instead of what can you get. By having a “go-giver” mindset you can be sure that you’ll make some valuable connections and people will remember you. When attending with a mindset of “what can I get tonight” you may often leave disappointed.
- Education – Every time you go to a networking event of any kind there is education to be found. It could be in the form of a speaker or a one-on-one conversation but there are ALWAYS gems to be mined when you look for them. This means looking for ways you have learned from the event to improve yourself or leads to help you to reach your goals. The key to this is follow up. If you received a new contact name, then reach out and follow up to see if you can be of assistance. If you learned about a new method or a new tool, then try it out and see if it could work for you. If you don’t follow up immediately you will lose the lesson or the contact. Follow up is key!
If it wasn’t for my networking activities I would not be thriving. The people in my network, some of which I’ve come to know quite well, have helped me to:
- Become a more confident mentor and trainer
- Introduced me to clients who have hired me for leadership training
- Find a uniquely qualified business mentor
- Find speaking opportunities
- Grow my email list
- Develop friendships
Get out there and serve
Little by small you can develop a large network over time by putting your friendly foot forward and finding the courage to venture out of your comfort zone.
Join a Meet Up group or any local group in your area that advertises a topic you are interested in. Broaden your horizons and get out there! Once you meet a person, invite them to be your friend on social media.
Nurture your connections and stay in touch. Provide value and have a service mindset. You have much to offer. And of course the more willing you are to help others the more will they are to help you.
In your service,
P.S. Do you need a speaker at an event? I speak on many different topics. Call me if you’d like to connect or book a complimentary meeting at: https://maureenrg.youcanbook.me