Your time is precious. Determine your networking objectives before going out!
Today is Part Two of my triple threat blog post series on networking. Last week I wrote about Five tips to help you make networking more FUN! This week, we’re talking about knowing WHY you’re going to a networking event and determining your networking objectives before you go out. Besides the having fun part, of course!
If you’re like me, your time is very limited, so you want to maximize every task you do and every event you attend. Most of us don’t have time to be aimlessly going from event to event with no objective in mind. Successful networkers will tell you that they usually know what their main goal is or why they are attending an activity.
So, what are YOUR networking objectives?
You want to meet colleagues in your industry
I LOVE meeting other business coaches. I follow them online, I scope out their new programs and I subscribe to their newsletters. Not in a bad stalkerish kind of way – but rather to find out what they’re doing, to learn from them, and to be uplifted by their messages. And meeting other industry folks in person is a great way to know what’s going on in your field – from job openings, to industry trends, to checking out the competition!
I also really enjoy sharing with other women in my field. Entrepreneurial masterminds are all the rage and if you haven’t checked these out, I urge you to look into them! You can even create your own. They’re small groups of people who meet in-person and/or on-line and discuss a whole bunch of topics, from marketing, to sales, social media and more! The members are usually non-judgemental and are focussed on helping each other out and holding everyone accountable. You can also develop a deep bond with members of your group and create lasting friendships.
You want to see the guest speaker up close and personal
I often sign up to events because I want to see the invited guest speakers. I particularly enjoy the smaller more intimate events, rather than the big stadium ones like the ones organized by coach Tony Robbins, as you can sometimes actually meet the speaker. And you have an easier time networking with other participants in a smaller setting.
As entrepreneurs, we are always learning about how to run our businesses, and motivational speakers or CEOS that run amazing businesses can give us that momentum we need to keep going. Some of the people I follow are Jen Sincero, Denise Duffield Thomas, and Marie Forleo, to name a few.
Looking for clients
This is often the reason people network. To sell their products or services. BUT, and it’s a big BUT, I suggest you never go to events with this in mind! Opposite to what many think networking is, right? I never enjoy being bombarded by strangers handing me their business cards and giving me their elevator pitch, only to leave 5 minutes later, off to their next conquest. This doesn’t work! There is no connection, no bond, no exchange! Don’t do it. Ever.
Does that mean you shouldn’t tell people what you do? Of course not! Talk to people, explain how you help people solve their problems, but go further than that. Listen to what they have to tell you. Create that connection. The more events you go to, the more people you meet and follow-up with, the more clients will come your way.
You also want to make sure you’re going to the places where your potential clients hang out. If you sell products and services to new moms and you’re going to an event primarily for baby boomers, you won’t meet many potential clients.
Looking for a new job
Are you looking to change careers or jobs? Or perhaps your job was abolished, and you need a new one. In-person networking is a great way to meet people in a new field or in your own field. As in the first point above, seeing what’s going on in your industry and meeting people working in your desired sector is very important when looking for work.
How do you network without having that ‘I’ll take any job’ look on your face? As with every other networking event, you go to events in your industry or desired industry, and you create connection with the people in the places you want to work. And don’t forget to follow-up with them after the event! Asking for a brief chat to go deeper into the conversation about the company and potential hires is an important next step.
You want to meet a certain person in attendance
I have had people come up to me at events and tell me that they knew I was going to be there and ask if they could kindly chat with me briefly. And I’ve done the same! Whether I was looking for a contact at a certain organization, or a speaker for an event, sometimes you have a better chance at getting what you want in person, rather than trying by phone.
Attend a workshop
Sometimes your networking objective is to learn and have fun by attending a class or a workshop and just make new friends. And you know what? You can meet the BEST people at these activities as you already have a common interest in the class. And friends will praise your products and services high and loud whenever they can.
There you go! Six networking objectives to make you more effective at every event you attend!
Next week, I’ll be sharing my own personal tips to better networking!
Do you have your next monthly networking event lined up? What’s your objective for this event? I’d love to hear how it goes so drop me a line in the comments.
p.s. For more ways on bringing joy, freedom and financial success into your business, join my closed Facebook group Rock the Cradle Business Coaching!
Let’s #MoveYourBizForward together!