Good coaches and consultants often use networking to build their client base, but not everyone is a natural networker. If you hate networking, you’re not alone. Here are three tips to help you hate it less:
- Network EVERYWHERE! Networking doesn’t only happen at formal events. If we break down networking to its core, we find that it means nothing more or less than building relationships with people. You have the opportunity to meet new people everywhere you go. Why limit your networking time to formal events with “networking” in their title? You can meet new people in line at the grocery store, at a restaurant, at a youth sporting or school event, at a house of worship, at a nonprofit event … EVERYWHERE! Put aside your formal script. Forget about your business.
Networking events are great but they’re not the only answer. If you absolutely abhor “formal” networking events, don’t go. However, you need to go somewhere else to make friends. Make it an event like someone else’s workshop, a trade/association show, award luncheon, public committee meeting, etc. Find a topic where you have an interest and go there to make some new friends
- Meeting people is only the beginning … you need to take care of your new friends. You can meet new people anywhere … from the airplane to the economic development forum to religious services. This is just the start. Do you automatically share your deepest darkest secrets to someone you just met? Of course not! Don’t expect the people you meet to do so either. Networking is a commitment. It takes attention and work, much like your relationships with your personal friends. Follow up is key. You know how it goes. That old saying “out of sight, out of mind” really fits when it comes to networking.
So, what can you do today to find a new friend and/or build a relationship with a new-found friend?