I always Love to Network!
Not only is it good for the soul to meet people face to face, despite the repertoire of social media, it is also detrimental if you are serious as a professional or have the slightest interest in People.
These events are where you sharpen your skills! Your People Skills, People!
Last week I joined an amazing local group of bloggers at an event Hosted by triFABB & Flywheels.
When I say it was Fly it was fly!
Mind you they had the moooooost delicious tiny burgers and I was busy filling myself, with a few of these mind you.
You know, eating the stuff between the buns, because after all I just finished a workout and I couldn’t let all that hard work go to waste. But I digress.
I can not express just how important it is to network, and give it justice.
It is not only good for your business, blogging, etc. it’s also a chance to chill with liked minded individuals.
It doesn’t hurt that you may get a collaboration or partnership as a result, neither.
Every time I’ve attended an event there has always been an amazing take away. Whether it be exciting news for the future, experience or a new lead. There has always been a positive result.
I truly believe in relationships and cultivating them.
So, because I just think it’s a great chance for you to get out there and start sharpening your own skills…
5 reasons why if you haven’t started, why you should start Networking ASAP!
1. The Food, Just kidding, It Sharpens Your People Skills.
When I first began “networking” I didn’t know what I was doing or that I was even networking.
I was attending events and I still actually attend events because, I legitimately want to gain knowledge and meet amazing people doing amazing things.
At first, I was a newbie, after leaving events I’d feel like hiding under a rock and worse, I’d get in my car and go over the entire event, nit picking my every word thinking, “yup, I shouldn’t have said that, ohhhh I shouldn’t have done that, that’s embarrassing.“
Now, honey, I got this! Each time I embark on an event, I now have the knowledge and experience on how to mingle, how to let the right people know about the services I offer and the business I have. It’s an art and the only way to get good at it, is to get out there.
The great thing about networking, especially face to face, and no, google chats doesn’t count (although those are nice) people are more laid back and more approachable.
You’d be surprised who you might meet. The advice you may gain or the funny stories you may share.
During networking events I’ve learned through my experience, you don’t have to be so formal. You don’t have to speak to everyone in the room and you don’t have to be anyone else but yourself no matter how “embarrassing” you think you are.
Truth be told, it’s about attracting the people that you mesh well with. After all that’s the basis of any good relationship.
You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to gain anything but the experience. So make sure you, HAVE FUN!
If you’re contemplating on going out there and networking, remember, it’s ok not to have the perfect pitch or an awesome-sauce story.
You can actually just be yourself and scope out the scene. If you want to talk you can, if you don’t, that’s ok too, because after all you are getting a feel for people and how to present your best self.
2. You Gain Confidence
The more I attend events, the more confident I am and the more at ease I am with who I am. You’re not only there to get to know others, you’re also there to get to know yourself in certain situations or circumstances.
No one event is like another, it’s just the nature of the beast.
As you attend more networking events you’ll find yourself not as intimidated as before and you will become more at ease. Without a worry if someone is speaking to you or not because after all there are delicious burgers you can have a very intimate conversation with.
Yes I said it!
3. You may Gain a Friend/Associate
Although it is very rare that you gain a friend you may gain an associate or someone that can help you reach that next level of your business, blogging, etc. and, who knows it may go both ways and you may also help someone else reach that next level.
Networking is a great chance to not only get a feel for people, but for people to get a feel for you. A chance to develop relationships outside of: Facebook, Social Media, etc. and an opportunity to help others.
Perhaps you may meet someone who has been following your business, perhaps you may meet someone you admire. It’s a great chance to exchange information and enjoy the festivities together.
So start bonding. The sooner you start the more fulfilling your life can be, and also your business!
4. You will gain Exposure
Sometimes you’ll read about it, sometimes you may not even hear your name mentioned, but ultimately your presence has exposed you. Your exposed! Now if you are a business owner, blogger, etc this is a great thing.
If you’re a stick in a mud who doesn’t like people, not so much.
Networking is all about exposure! Exposing you, exposing your business and exposing what you lack or what you excel in.
You’ll quickly learn the areas you may need to sharpen to better your business, because business without people isn’t business. –Tweet That!
5. At least 1 person thinks you're cool.
(Tip: FOLLOW UP, because you may never know who’s checked you out and thinks you’re cool.)
Seriously, but don’t expect people to come rushing at your door, website or email. Follow up my friends, because if you don’t you could be losing a chance of giving a great professional impression.
In the beginning I really never followed up, because as I mentioned I was a newbie who wanted to hide under rocks.
Now that I’m more of a seasoned network-er, I find it to be that “nice” touch of going the extra mile to say, “Hi! I loved meeting you at so and so.”
I mean, if you receive an email like that from that last event you attended, wouldn’t that warm up your entrepreneurial heart? Of course it would. It’s the thought that counts.
How has your experience been when networking in the past and if you never really given it much thought, are you going to take the step and start?
A few photos in this post credit from Em-Grey Photography