Flying High, Flying Far
"What me? Sell myself? You have to be joking!"
This was the response I received from one of my clients when I suggested that she needed to get out there and promote herself. She had to "network".
The Oxford English Dictionary defines networking as "interacting with others to exchange information and develop useful contacts."
This is how I see it. It's not about "selling yourself" but about an exchange of information with like-minded people.
Say to yourself, "I am going to do research. I am going to discover what other people are doing, how they are doing it, and why."
Don't regard meeting someone as a confrontation. Don't get up tight. Use lines such as, "I am really interested in you and how you have succeeded in your business."
One thing is guaranteed. The more difficult you make networking, the less success you will have with it. Approach it with a sense of ease. Have fun! You might actually enjoy it!
The same client complained, "I never get any business from these networking events. Surely if anyone is interested they would come to me?"
But why should they? What are you doing to create interest in your business? You have to engage them in conversation, ask them questions, and exchange information.
If you come from a space of enquiry, it will be much easier for people to respond to you. The conversation becomes a discussion where you are comparing and contrasting your businesses. You might talk about your staff, or your sales. Try to find some common ground.
At the end of the conversation, exchange business cards. But don't leave it at that. This is the key to future success. Write notes on the back of the card to remind you of relevant points. If you discover a synergy, follow through.
Make contact within the next two weeks, preferably by email first, and then by telephone. Arrange to have a coffee with them. Develop a business relationship.
When I chair meetings I often set the group a task. I challenge the participants to collect five new business cards from one another. Set yourself similar goals. Be bold! Be empowered by your ability to communicate!
Through doing just this Kool Results has joined the International Virtual Women's Chamber of Commerce. Online I can network with women all over the globe. By taking the first step along the road you too could be flying - virtually or otherwise - around the world.
Julianne Kuhlmann, founder of Kool Results Coaching, offers Leadership Coaching and Consulting services that are tailored to meet the personal and professional development needs of leaders and leadership teams. Julianne provides individual and team leadership coaching, as well as a variety of workshops on leadership development. Contact Julianne at firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit http://www.koolresults.com.au
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