Networking Is a Learned Skill
I know many people find networking uncomfortable. I believe this has a lot to do with their confidence and ability to make conversation with strangers especially when they feel under pressure to create new business and produce sales. But networking is not about sales, it is about relationships, and relationships start from conversations.
Learn From Each Other
The ability to network effectively is a learned skill. Just as we learn to climb a fence or ride a bike, we need to learn how to make and participate in conversations. Whether we are with people we think we know well, people we’ve met a few times, or find ourselves face-to-face with strangers. A conversation is how we make spending time together worthwhile. It is how we find out about each other’s interests and needs, learn from each other, and discover mutual connections and possibilities. So many opportunities come out of unexpected conversations; relationships develop, and our confidence, capacity, network, and business prospects expand.
Connection is a Core Need
Meaningful conversations, in any situation, are valuable. You might be thinking, why bother with all these conversations and relationships? Well, as social beings connection is a core need and through conversation we have the opportunity to interact and build a variety of networks that support us. Networking is not isolated to business interactions or events. You may not realise it, but we network every single day. Even in the most ordinary daily interactions, we have conversations, make connections, and meet a range of people who may need help or might be able to help us. I therefore advocate we make our networking time matter by having deeper conversations and being curious about others.
Through the conversations we have every single day there is a chance to:
· expand our horizons
· develop our communication skills enabling better interactions in all areas of our lives
· learn about ourselves and others
· celebrate our uniqueness by understanding what drives us and why
· meet like-minded people who share common interests and with whom we can build a mutually beneficial relationship
· seek out the influencers in our network
· find out what is happening in our community and environment
· support others by assisting them to find what they are looking for and, when possible, offer help.
Business owners, also benefit by being able to:
· practice how to enter and exit conversations at an event
· talk about and test out their point of difference
· check the ongoing relevance of their business model
· gain feedback on a new concept or offer
· identify the right problems for their business to solve
· seek out collaborators
· test pricing models and how to convert interest to action
· learn how others choose to follow up.
YTM has helped many people who describe themselves as ‘introverted’ or ‘networking averse’ learn how to network effectively by making it easy for everyone attending YTM events to participate in effective conversations.
Practice Really Does Help
The truth is practice really does help with anything we want to learn. I am not saying it is easy, in fact anything worth doing is difficult at first, but I know it can be done. When I ran my first YTM events, I was nervous and wondered if I could translate my ideas into a working reality, but I am testament to the value of reaching out and stretching yourself. Making conversation and building confidence is no different. The first step has become Nike’s catchcry, “Just do it”. Step out of your comfort zone, take some risks, face into new situations and practice your skills. Each time you do it you will get better and more comfortable and confident. Trust me, I know—the more we practice the stronger and more curious we become.
(extract from book by Kerryn Powell, Two Ears, One Mouth and a Big Heart )
If you could do with a boost of confidence I can help you through 1:1 mentoring, or you may like to attend our Connect with Confidence events which allow you to practice your skills with likeminded other business people. Check out our coming events HERE or book a time to have a conversation about how I can help you or your team HERE