Ten Tips for Taking the WORK Out of Networking

Why not take the “work” of our networking? It might be time to change your thinking and how you show up at those scary networking events.

I guarantee if you follow these steps, you’ll receive more from every conversation and interaction.  Here’s a recent radio interview with some fun, useful tips that will help you show up with more confidence and charisma. If you like to read, catch my ten tips below.

I conduct a FREE 30 Minute training on this topic in person here in the Seattle area, or a via live conference call.  Please let me know by calling me at 206-915-2649  or click on “Book Mark” link on the top right of this page.

There are several benefits of networking that you might not have even considered. Discover what to do when you meet someone new, even in those awkward social settings. How do you talk about YOU? That’s an uncomfortable subject in and of itself!  Don’t use networking as a last resort, when you’re desperate to sell.

1. I feel awkward, how do I overcome fear or timidity at networking events? Practice connecting with people. While you’re out and about, just get good at taking with strangers without a business motivation in mind.

Ted Talk contributor and marketing expert, Terri Trecpicio, recommends that you create a party scenario.  If it were your party, you would naturally want everyone to have fun, and you’d feel less self-conscious about approaching them. You would likely feel it’s your job to check in and put them at ease. Seek out the wallflowers, the person watching from the sidelines. You are now the host; it is your shindig. This mental shift is essential for taking yourself from a place of need to one of control and confidence

2. How should I network on Linkedin and Facebook?  During the last decade or so and currently,  ‘social networking’ is portrayed as an amazing discovery.  The fact is, people have been networking for 1000s of years.  Cave dwellers were writing on their friend’s walls long before Facebook. How do you leverage social media? The rules are the same, whether on Social media or in person.  People are natural networkers and connectors. Don’t spam them with sales pitches.  Offer to add value to them.

3. How should a person talk about themselves at a networking event? I always refer to a classic book, written way back in 1936. How to win friends and influence People.  Whether you’re standing up for a 30-second spot at a BNI or networking event, make yourself friendly with people. Dale Carnegie had it right. Make friends and serve their best interest.

4. What about my USP? (Unique Selling Proposition)  Black and White TV and USPs have a colorful background  TV advertisers,  developed USPs to in a commercial with the objective to convince people to switch brand. Your goal at a networking event is not to convince people!

5. What do I say when they ask, “What do you do?”  First and foremost, don’t share a litany of tasks. Share how you benefit others with the services you provide. When you say, “I am a real estate agent, I sell homes.”  I am thinking,  yes, you and 2 million other agents! What makes you unique?  How do you make your clients feel?  What benefits do you offer?    Be conversational, ask questions.

6. Go as the solution: I recall reading an Ann Landers’s article years ago, in the 80s. In her column, she instructed one of her readers with a problem to go out and help someone else.  By helping others, we are less focused on our problems.

7. What should you NOT do” at a Networking event?  Don’t’ go as a recruiter, seller, or to convince. Don’t become a stalker.  Go to add value that comes from an authentic connection.  Keep a lot of irons in the fire. Make friends and grow your influence. Build relationships and cultivate them.

8. Don’t’ network when you’re desperate.  If you’re in desperation, survival mode, that’s not a good business posture.  When you NEED business, you sound needy.  The right time to network is “all the time,” and especially when business is going well.  We tend to lay off the networking when we have a lot of activity and business, not a good idea.  Stay consistent with networking activities all the time so you don’t run out of business!

 9. What are the long-term, hidden values of networking? Your network determines your Net worth. As I’ve mentioned, adopt a long-term perspective on networking. Your business and work activities are less than a third of your life, but the value of long-term relationships pays huge dividends. Networking with a long-term vision creates connections and opportunity for the future. If you’re networking for a present need, you’re short sited. Networking is a courtship process, not the wedding ceremony!

10.  What’s the best way to strike up a conversation? Become an expert interviewing and asking questions.  People love insightful questions.  Questions make the interaction easy for them because thy always know the answer when it’s about them. Make your conversation about them, not you unless they ask.  Also, listen with your eyes!  You’ve got two ears and one mouth, and two eyes.

Attention Network Marketers, Realtors, Mortgage, Brokers, Insurance and any industry that requires a constant flow of leads and referrals.  I conduct a FREE 30 Minute training on this topic in person here in the Seattle area, or a via live conference call.  Please let me know by calling me at 206-915-2649  or click on “Book Mark” link on the top right of this page.

Image credit Wikipedia Commons


About the Author Mark Petticord

I am a sales and marketing consultant, trainer, writer and new media professional. With twenty-five years in the sales and marketing industry, I've had the privilege of training and supporting hundreds of micro entrepreneurs and business executives.

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