“Authenticity is what makes a relatable person believable. It is what makes the relatability sustainable. Anyone can fake relatability for a time, but authenticity is what makes it real.”
– Michele Jennae, The Connectworker
Are you a reluctant networker? So many times, I have heard my smart, capable and savvy clients cringe when the word “networking” comes into the conversation.
There is an immediate reaction – almost like a physical recoiling – especially for those with a more introverted nature.
The common phrase is “I do it but I don’t enjoy it or feel comfortable.”
And yet in our business and personal lives, networking including meeting, greeting and getting to know others is an essential part of business development.
And remember, the time to build a network is not when you need one!
This point was really brought home when I was coaching executives who were looking to change jobs. They had been so ‘into their jobs’ that they had chosen to ignore this essential relationship and business building side of their personal and professional lives. They failed to realise the value of networks until they needed it.
So here are three simple points which could help you next time be it with your internal or external networks.
1) First things first – Know that MANY OTHERS FEEL SIMILARLY
Remember that there will be at least half, if not more, people who will be filling like you. You are NOT the only person there feeling a bit unsure, diffident and uncomfortable – there are others and they will be glad to be approached and talked to. At an event, approach someone standing by themselves or introduce yourself to a small group of two for starters.
2) Make it less about you; MORE ABOUT THEM
Be genuinely interested in the other. Find out more about them and what they enjoy doing in life. Most people have an interest, passion or topic they love to talk about. This way you might just discover some points of interest and how you could add value to them. If nothing else, you will be remembered for being a great active listener. As Steven Covey put it so well, “Seek first to understand.”
3) RELATIONSHIPS FIRST; Sales later
Think about the last time you had barely met someone and you were getting their ‘great service or product’ rammed down your throat. So get to know the person first and see how you could be of value to them. ( See earlier point). If you care about the relationship and if there is a sales opportunity, this will develop more naturally and easily. You need to earn the right to do this.
In the words of Robyn Henderson, one of Australia’s networking pioneers, “People like to do business with people they know and trust. Alternatively, they will also do business with people who are known to people they know and trust.”
Connect and care!
If you are looking for a speaker, facilitator or coach, call me at +64 27 280 3335 or via [email protected]
As a leadership coach, team facilitator and speaker, I love working with organisations and savvy managers and leaders to grow and engage their teams better. I also love speaking to different audiences on such topics including finding and living our mojo and leadership and life transitions.
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