If you hate networking you’re not alone.
Many coaches I work with profess that they hate networking events because they hate small talk and love getting into deep, meaningful dialogue with people. Small talk just doesn’t cut it for them, and the prospect of attending a networking event evokes mental images of social awkwardness, icky self-promotion and people trying to “work” the room in a way that feels anything but deep, meaningful or even authentic.
If that’s how they see networking, it’s no wonder many coaches avoid networking. But, trust me, it doesn’t have to be that way!
One of the members of my mastermind group is preparing to go to a conference and shared with us that since she doesn’t like networking, she often turns into a wallflower when she’s there and doesn’t really meet anyone with whom she wants to connect.
In other words, she hadn’t found an effective way to honor herself and be fully present and productive while networking (up until now!)
I invite you to consider that even though you may not have enjoyed networking in the past, it can be a fun, powerful thing to do for yourself and your business. It’s all about doing it in a way that is in alignment with your values and who you are. Today, I’m going to share some tips for honoring yourself as you mix and mingle, and finding ways to get into deep dialogue with the people you meet at networking events.
5 Tips for Making Deep Connections at Networking Events:
Tip #1 – Be clear on your purpose
What do you want out of the event? Do you want to meet new potential clients, practice making connections with others, create strategic alliances [LINK: http://broadviewcoaching.com/2015/create-heart-swelling-strategic-alliances/], or something else? When you know this, you’ll have a much more grounded and focused presence at the event.
Tip #2: Scan the Room
Look around the room and feel into which people you’re interested in connecting with energetically. Who’s attractive to you? Who looks like someone you could talk to, and enjoy speaking with? It’s not so much how they’re dressed or how they look, it more of an energetic magnetism you are looking for.
Tip #3: Start with the Other in Mind
Come to the event with generosity of spirit and ask people about themselves. Really focus on the other as he or she speaks. Generosity begets generosity, and it can launch you into that juicy dialogue you crave.
This is certainly an opportunity to ask Powerful Questions, which will help you get into deeper dialogue and away from small talk more quickly. Good questions are:
- What do you hope to get out of the event?
- What have you been working on lately that you’re excited about?
- What do you love about your business?
Tip #4: Ask a Poignant Question Related to Your Niche
A great way to step into deeper dialogue is to ask a question that relates to what you do. For instance, a leadership coach might ask, “What’s the biggest challenge that you see leaders facing right now?” Asking questions like this is a great way to do some causal market research to learn more about how your ideal client actually thinks about the issues that you help them with. It’s also a non-pushy way to bring up a topic that you have expertise in as a way to showcase your strengths.
Tip #5: Take the Lead on Follow Up
Lead the communication after the event has ended by remembering to follow up with those you meet. This is the step that most people forget to do and it is so important to the success of your networking efforts. One tip to make it easier is to briefly jot a note or two on the back of every business card you receive that will help you remember how you can be of service to each person you met. Then, as soon as you get back to your office, enter the contact information from the business cards in a contact manger (there are some great apps that make this easier) and then follow up when you said you would. This will show you are a person of action and follow through – two highly desirable qualities in a coach.
Do you have any tips for showing up powerfully at networking events that work well for you? Please share your knowledge in the comments below!
Tara Butler Floch