Networking without fear : Here's how
Networking. What used to be the bane of my existence. But not anymore.
Why is that? Because I gained the confidence I needed to enjoy it.
I knew that as a lawyer I couldn’t do without it. I HAD to build my own book of clients. Even if I was working in-house, I recognized the significance of networking with colleagues from other departments and outside counsel for a variety of reasons.
What did I do differently? I was prepared.
I once had a colleague who turned up for a networking event in a car show room. She never thought about the type of event she was turning up for. Only that it was a networking event she was invited to.
Turns out it was an event to promote a flashy new car (she had no interest in cars) and the event was attended by a bunch of men talking about cars! She had nothing to say and slinked off after 1 drink!
If she had done her homework beforehand, she would have realized that it was for the promotion of a car, likely to be attended by mostly men and it wouldn’t be helpful to her at all.
Some of you might think that networking is organic and some people are just good at all of them. But that’s not true. Networking, like any other skill can be learned and requires a little bit of research.
I check to make sure that the event is something I am interested in (yes this is important) and the attendees are people I want to connect with (this is also important). While it is important to see if they are potential clients or introducers to clients you want, it is more important to know that you could along with them.
Are they potentially your tribe? Could you see yourself hanging out with them as friends? That personal connection is highly crucial because as we know we only hang around people whom we like and get along with. Same in business. We only do business with people whom we get on with and trust.
Also when I am about to go for the event, I prepare well for it. I write out and practice my elevator pitch until it becomes second nature to me so that when I am asked, I’m not stumbling over what I want to say. I am able to convey what I do with confidence and ease.
Here are my 2 tips for networking. It builds my confidence and puts me at ease. I am more willing to go for events now that I am able to manage the unexpected.
What do you fear and what would you like to manage when networking?