I used to think attending networking events was the best way to network. What better way to rub elbows with successful people in your industry than by attending the same events?! It’s good in theory, but here’s what really happens:
- You end up fighting for people’s attention.
- You put on a “show” to win them over in hopes they’ll want to work with you.
- It’s a forced relationship versus a natural connection
- You pay so much and may leave the event with no reasonable connection
Instead of thinking about networking as handing out as many of your business cards as possible, learn the right way to network and you won’t have to hand out any business cards, trust me. Networking is a science that you either understand or don’t. And the great thing about science is there’s a technique that anyone can use if they know how to use it.What it all comes down to is chemistry. Networking is like professional dating the chemistry is there or it isn’t and if it isn’t, don’t try to force it. Some of my best connections have happened naturally on an airplane, in restaurants, or through mutual friends. So aside from all your misconceptions, here is the right way to network.
- OFFER VALUE
I am so over all the talk these days, for me value and action speaks more, what can you offer me and what can I offer you. Whenever you get the opportunity to speak to someone in your field and connect try not to just beat around the bush with the person, but really offer value in conversation. Never underestimate the power of offering value…even in strange of places like an airplane, restaurant, mall etc. A friend once told me that the best networking place is a restaurant, and I totally agree.
- BE NICE
You never know how far being nice can take you, you really do not have to wait for a networking event to meet someone and play nice, you get to meet people everyday. In the last 2 months I have made valid connections with some uber drivers, and it was amazing. If you ever find the right timing,strike up a conversation with 1 person a day and be nice.
- SPEND TIME NOT MONEY
Usually, networking cost money to attend. So, you spend money to maybe make money through a “high power connection”? That sounds like a risk; a risk I’m not willing to take anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I am the biggest advocate for investing in yourself…when the reward outweighs the risk. I will still attend networking events that will directly benefit me. Before you invest in a networking event, take the time to look over your goals and really analyze if attending a networking event supersedes the cost of doing it. After all, time is money and I mean it! TIME IS MONEY. Sometimes, spending a little extra time with someone you met in line is all it takes to form a solid connection. And other times, spending time on a project, or new venture requires your attention more than this super cool, hip, networking event.
Please do not get me wrong, Networking is a great tool for business and growth, but learn the right way to network.
Remember friends, time is money, and talk is very cheap.