Four Ways to become a networking machine! (Offline)

Offline networking is important. Whether you’re busy growing a new business or if you’re trying to get a new job, or simply just trying to add a few new friends, having a great network will help you accomplish anything you want faster!

Watch the video for my four top tips to improve your offline networking:

What do I mean by offline networking? I mean networking events that happen in person.

A great way to find some awesome networking events in your town is to go to Eventbrite and simply browse what is going on in your city. Once you’ve established some events to attend, you also want to make sure that you really get the most out of these networking events. I recently served on a panel for General Assembly, and we had some great takeaways that I’m going to be sharing with you today.

Four Ways to become an offline networking machine:
  1. Start viewing your connections as social capital. The founders of VentureFizz has coined this phrase. What they mean by that is, that your connections actually are worth something. Examples: I connected two of my friends a while ago, and together they grew a non-profit that has since helped a lot of other people, so it really created value in terms of money for others. I also recently met a woman at another networking event and we were discussing healthcare, and it turned out that she was paying about 10 times too much for her healthcare. All I did was put her in touch with my healthcare guy, and that then saved her money. So as you can see, there’s huge value in the connections that you already have.
  2. You want to view your networking a little bit like you’re going on a first date. So just like you wouldn’t walk into the room and immediately start to tell everybody everything about you, you’ll rather walk into a room and start asking less personal questions and get to know them better. So always make sure that you have a couple of questions in your back pocket that you can pull out whenever you’re feeling a little awkward in talking to people.
    Make sure that you’re adding value. So instead of walking into a room and just going, “Me, me, me.” You want to make sure that you first also add value to the person that you’re talking too. Start thinking about the connections that you have within your network that you can put this person in contact with and how that will help them. Networking is a lot like karma, what you put out there is most likely also going to come back to you. The more positive connections you can put out there and the more value you can give to other people, the more value you’ll receive in return.
  3. Lastly, you definitely want to remember to follow up with people. I know of so many people that I’ve met at networking events that never bother to email me back. That’s a big no-no. When you don’t follow up immediately, that person will forget who you are within a few days. And just because they can’t help you at this moment doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to help you later.

That’s just a few ways to help you become a better networker! Also be sure to read my “Three mistakes to avoid while networking” and “Wanna make networking fun” for more tips to become a networking machine!

Now I’d love to hear from you:

What are your best networking tips? What’s your biggest obstacle when it comes to networking? Tell me below, and feel free to ask me your network-related questions too:

 

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3 Mistakes you’re making while networking

Having moved countries and cities a few times you can pretty much say my life has been one big networking event! From forming new friendships, to landing jobs and growing my business – making the right connections are crucial!

By now, you’re probably very familiar and good at networking too! However, after wasting some much valuable time on a few networking coffee dates recently, and talking with others who had similar experiences, I realized that most of us can use a refresher on networking to help us avoid some time sucking mistakes.

It’s so important to have a good networking strategy: a) because it will save you time and b) because in the end you can’t accomplish anything without good connections who can help you!

Here are 3 mistakes you’re making while networking:

1) You only network for yourself:
When you’re at a networking event, stop thinking solely about what it is that you need to get out of it. Start being curious about the other person and how you can perhaps help them too! It’s not always a scratch your back you scratch mine situation. Sometimes you’ll help one person and then the karma will come back to you from a completely different angle. So serve others and let Karma take care of the rest for you.

2) You have a long boring intro about yourself:
Yawn… seriously!? No no no no no! Lead in with something interesting about your job, something other people can relate or understand. Just think how boring it is when someone just says: “My name is Blah and I’m a divorce lawyer.” Someone’s deduction may go: smart, boring, and great at charging people to wreck their lives. Now if this Divorce Lawyer would have said:”I help people get out of their marriages with minimal financial damage,” they would have had my attention.

Or a Marketing consultant:”I help small business owners be the center of attention in the market place.” You see how that immediately pricks your curiosity and automatically raises a few questions? In having a cool little intro, you’ll make sure that you engage people in conversation and no longer have to stand there trying to make awkward conversation!

3) You only network with people in your industry:

If you’re a business owner, this one is crucial! Start attending networking events that you know your ideal clients will attend. Don’t just go to networking events for other business owners (unless of course that’s your target market). Really spend some time thinking where you’ll get the most ROI for your time! (And hint to all the single ladies out there: you can even do this little exercise to figure out where you can find your ideal man. Example: If you’re looking for a well traveled fella with a more international social circle, you’re probably going to want to visit some bars near Kendall Square vs if you were looking for a sport loving Boston born and raised boy – which most likely would be hanging out in Southie. ;P)

So whether you’re looking for a new job or a hunk, make sure you know:

1) What you’re looking to get out of the networking event.

2) How to introduce yourself in a more interesting way that provokes conversation.

3) How you can help others and add value for them with referrals or introduction!

4) Who and where your ideal client/future bosses would be socializing or networking.

Now I’d love to hear from you! What are your best networking tips for us. Tell us below so we can all learn how to get better at this important step to help us fast track our careers!

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Be a rich connector.

networking-quotes

 

Does the word networking make you go yuck? Rest assured you are not alone. Unfortunately, making connections and building a strong network is the only way to grow your business or land that next big job.

To help us all get over the icky-stickiness of it. I put together these tips to make your connections more valuable and networking more fun.

1) Do your homework about the host organization before you show up. Find out what the demographic of the group is, how often it meets, how many members it has, etc. This will save you time and help you make better connections.

2) Put some conversation starters in your bag of charm. Talking with strangers can be daunting. I get that. Overcome these hurdles by writing down good conversation starters and questions. Think of great interactions you’ve had recently and consider what sparked them.

3) Get creative. Normally the first question you’ll be asked after your name is, “What do you do?” Instead of telling people your job title, which just stifles conversation, tell them your job description. Make it fun, witty, and interesting. An example for an accountant: “I help my company stay profitable and prevent it from going bankrupt.” This will lead to follow-up questions, maybe a giggle, and before you know it, the conversation is flowing without those uneasy lulls.

4) Remember that no contact is a waste. Everyone you meet could possibly be of assistance in some capacity. Think of the bigger picture. This contact can come in handy later when someone in your network needs this particular person’s expertise. You’ll be able to put the two in touch, and perhaps they’ll both refer people to you in the future.

5) Turn your day into a networking opportunity. Whether you’re traveling, on the subway, or grabbing a quick coffee, there are always people around and chances to engage. Use them to get to know people. I do this all the time; in fact, striking up random conversations led me to my first real job opportunity in college, and it’s also how I met my husband. The key is: Be active and stay engaged.

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xo

Hanneke