Networking Naturally

BE YOURSELF
The fear of being judged or that you will be caught out faking it is quite normal amongst women in business believe it or not!  Many women struggle in this area but does it really matter what anyone else thinks of you?  Knowing who you are and liking who you are is all that matters.  You need to be comfortable with yourself and to network from that foundation of being at peace with yourself.  Some people will like you and others won’t.  It will ALWAYS be that way, you will NEVER please all of the people all of the time!  Don’t wear yourself out by trying.  Simply let go and be yourself.  It’s better for them and it’s better for you.  Most importantly, remember that most of the women at the network event have probably been in the same position as you and are likely to understand how you feel. 

BE COMFORTABLE
Be comfortable in what you wear.  Your clothes are a reflection of who you are and if you are dressing to impress rather than dressing to express then you will be sending out a mixed message.  Also, be comfortable with what you have to say rather than sounding like you have a well rehearsed pitch prepared.  Try telling them a story from your week, tell how your business impacted someone rather or tell them what you love about what you do.  Chat naturally like you would to an old friend rather than reciting your pitch to them – that way you will both feel a little bit more relaxed and less like you are both trying to sell to each other. 

BE HONEST
There is nothing worse than realising that you have been lied to.  Sadly, people do tell lies.  They call them white lies to justify them but any form of lie is a lack of integrity.  Natural networking requires integrity.  People can sense when something is not right.  Even if they can’t put their finger on it, they will automatically resist you when this happens.  Using manipulation or making your offer more attractive with a little white lie will only cost you in the long run.  Integrity is more than honesty; it is the combination of honesty with strong moral principles.   

BE INTERESTED
It’s not all about you – be interested in what they have to say too.   Take time to care about what they have to say rather than mentally scan the conversation to find a gap to sell something to them.  Of course, if you have something that could solve their problem then by all means share it with them.  Don’t go to networking events to sell, sell, and sell!  Networking events are designed to connect people and you are more likely to grow your business by connecting with people than you will by trying to sell to every person you meet. Not everyone needs what you have to offer believe it or not!  People buy into people.  If you made them feel good the chances are they will want to hear from you again. 

BE PREPARED

Yes the old Boy Scout motto still stands. I only realised that I really needed business cards after going to my first networking event. In fact I made every single mistake at this event and was not prepared at all – but I did have a collection of my books to sell  Prepare yourself for networking by going prepared with:

Cards
Get some stylish business cards printed and take them with you wherever you go. Your business card says a lot about you and your business so don’t rush into getting just anything printed.

Pitch
Your pitch is your verbal business card and you should put as much into crafting your pitch as you do into designing your business cards. More often than not you get about sixty seconds to pitch to the group. It’s not a lot of time but if you have planned well it is the perfect amount of time to get people interested in what you do. You pitch should be passionate, positive and show your personality – so just be you! Hook them early because 80% of your success will depend on the first words that come out of your mouth. This is what your pitch should contain:

– A greeting and your name (Hello I am…)
– Who you are (I am a…..)
– What you do and how you can help (I offer…..)
– Why you do it (My passion is….)
– A call to action (Watch my latest clips on YouTube)

Practice makes perfect so practice by saying it out loud a few times. Pay attention to the tone of your voice, your body language and smile. Afterwards ask friends for feedback so you can get better each time.

BE HAPPY
Happy people are attractive and no one likes being around a Sad Sack. Happiness is a choice, you can choose your perceptive on anything and if you do not feel happy try get a new angle on what is making you sad. It’s not that you have to be fake or pretend that you have no problems, but there is a time and a place for everything so try be a happy natural networker!

Women’s Business Club offers fantastic networking events for women – find out more at www.connect.womensbusiness.club

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