Do you feel clumsy at networking events?
This is all about how to be an expert networker. Even if
- You don't like big networking event
- You feel clumsy or shy at networking events
- You aren't quite sure what to say at networking events.
A few months ago I had an appointment to meet up with my trainer to work on weight training. To be honest, I didn't want to go although usually I enjoy it. I didn't sleep well the night before, all my joints were hurting, and I felt weak and blah. When I walked in to the gym Keith, the trainer, immediately saw I was dragging. He said, “Oh, you look like maybe you're hurting a bit today.”
Here's the first step in being a good networker and a no-excuses person. Learn to notice when you want to lead into a conversation with something that is about you, and that is a wound (something wrong with you). Click To Tweet People will often give you the perfect opportunity to open a conversation with drama, or excuses, or talking about a wound. Don't go there. Become expert at opening relationships in ways that are not about you.
Often people don't know how to start a conversation
Have you noticed when you're at a networking event that often people don't know how to lead into a conversation, so they lead with something about themself?
- “I was so hot driving over here today.”
- “I don't know many people here.”
- “I had such a migraine I almost didn't come today, but how are you?”
When we are uncertain, we tend to lead with our own wound, concern, medical condition, anxiety, or fear. That pushes the other person away. Why? Because you're coming at that person with an energy of anxiety and fear rather than an energy of openness and calm. When you open a conversation from a place of anxiety or fear, it's almost impossible to find a conversation that is positive common ground. If you want to learn how to be an expert networker, you'll always lead with not-you energy. In other words, not about you, but about the possibility of collaboration and exchange.
Otherwise, you've roped your new acquaintance into having to respond about you. The exchange starts off one-sided and remains there. I'm betting you know people who make almost every exchange about something that's going on with them.
- Their chronic pain condition
- Their handicap
- Their anxiety
- Their child
- Their lack of finding a parking place
Expert networkers make the conversation about possibilities
You go to networking events to make business opportunities and friendships happen. Lead with the language of possibility, not with the language of what is wrong. This opens the door to:
- Finding a new center of influence for yourself and your business
- Spotting new prospects for your services or products
- Identifying potential collaborations for your business.
What is it that you offer? How does it match or compliment what someone else at that event offers?
Expert networkers use the tool of total brand clarity
The top key in how to be an expert networker is that your brand (who you are and what you do) rolls right off your tongue. Quickly. Succinctly. Clearly. What you say engages the other person, causing that person to lean in to you and keep the conversation going. If you are introverted or shy having total brand clarity is the magic tool for you, because it gives you confidence and steadies you. When you don't have this, your first thought will be to fall back on something you hope the other person can relate to – and you automatically think that it has to be something going on with you, or a complaint about the weather – some type of drama. Drama engages. But it doesn't engage in a way that gets results for your business. Click To Tweet
You go to a networking event to meet other business owners, find out more about the community you live and work in, build relationships, and showcase your own business. You're looking for other professionals. You're looking for connection that will lead to collaboration or business in some way.
Here's a checklist to help you be an expert networker
The next time you have to introduce yourself and your business, pretend like you're standing over your own shoulder. Watch what you do, and listen to what you say. Practice your who and do what statement for total brand clarity. Ask yourself ahead of time, “What's the story of my brand?” Make sure to lead with possibility and openness. Leave these behind:
- What's going on in your day
- What's wrong right now
- What the latest drama is in your personal life
- What medical condition you have
- What's the pain in your life
- What your past wounds are
It doesn't work well to meet another person with what's wrong. Meet your new contacts with your essence, your gift, and your magic. Let that shine. You will naturally become an expert networker. Click To Tweet
How to be an expert networker simply means not taking the opportunity to lead with what's wrong, even if you are given the opportunity. The day I felt bad at the gym, the trainer gave me the opportunity to use an excuse and do less than I could. But what I needed most was for him to bolster me and help me see what I could do, despite pain and fatigue. Help others see what they can do, and you'll be an expert networker.
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