How to prepare for networking events so you’ll be more confident
Networking online or in person is a unique opportunity to grow a business. It’s a great way to build connections, build relationships, create trust, and find people you can partner up with and collaborate with, whether it’s JV partners, power partners, or even your ideal clients. If you’re not networking – whether in person or online – you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build connections and relationships. Building these connections online is actually a great way for us to get outside of our backyard and get outside of our community, because when we’re networking in person, we’re just meeting people from our local area. Now you can meet people from all over the world.
If you shy away from networking events because they feel too salesy or pushy, I have a few tips for you to get better results when networking. Some of us are starting to do in-person networking, though a lot of us are still doing online networking right now. Many of the things I’m going to share will be applicable to both types of networking.
The mistake I see most people make when they go to networking events is the intention that they set. I suggest your intention should be to look for those people to partner up with, and if they’re interested in what you have to do, they will lean in with their hearts and be a lot more open. Starting the networking process by setting intentions will definitely help you achieve the results you want.
Gain more visibility when networking online
When you’re networking in person, it’s so much easier than attending online networking events because you can walk up to people and say hello and you can start a conversation.
There’s often so much noise and so much going on during online networking events, so when you’re reduced to a little square on the computer screen, you want to stand out. These tips are a great way to gain visibility, to rise up from the competition, and not get lost in the crowd on the screen.
When I attend an online networking event and I see all the Hollywood squares, the people who I’m attracted to are the people who are smiling and using their body language; they’re responding to what people are saying. In other words, they’re engaged. So make sure to have your video on so people can see you. Then be sure to stay engaged with what’s going on – and smile!
It’s also important to be prepared with what you’re going to share in the chat so that you’re not scrambling to figure it out and write it out during the event. This way, you can actually be present to pay attention to what’s happening in the moment; what other people are saying, as well as how they are acting and reacting.
Use a Google Doc a Word Doc and have your information at the ready so you can share (via copy and paste) your title and if you have a free offering, or a workshop coming up, or a discovery session – or even better, I would recommend offering a collaboration call instead of a discovery session. If somebody leans in and they’re interested in what you have to offer and you’re a coach, then you would put that offer in the chat, along with a link to collaborate with them.
The mistake I see people make a lot is they make their post in the chat 12 inches long and it’s salesy and pushy and aggressive. So keep your posts in the chat short and sweet. Don’t forget to include how you want people to connect with you.
If there is a speaker or several speakers during the networking event, comment on what they’re saying if they say something that really resonates with you. You can do this by putting those comments in the chat. I actually type highlights and put bullet points in the chat of things they’ve said that speak to me and I find that the speakers appreciate that personal touch. Additionally, not only does the host of the event also appreciate it, but you’re going to get attention because people are going to see you posting relevant comments.
The most effective way to do this when other people are chatting and making comments is to put the at sign and put their name (i.e., @Debbie) so they know you’re talking to them and commenting on what they just said.
If an attendee shares something that really resonates with you and you think they could be a great partner for you, reach out to them. You know that you might be great power partners for each other, or maybe you can collaborate. If the event has the private chat available, use that; if not, reach out to them using the @ feature and let them know that you’d love to connect with them. Ask them if they’d like to get together – don’t assume that they do; ask for permission and just say if you do want to get together, here’s the link to my calendar. Keep it short and sweet.
Show up in service and create deeper connections
Have you ever been to an event and someone comes across as salesy and pushy? Where someone is trying to sell you and trying to get you to become a client? It just doesn’t feel good. We don’t want to be that person, so here are some things you can do instead to create deeper connections while networking. Also, be mindful of how you can contribute and be of service and make a difference to the speaker, to the host, and to the other people who are showing up.
Be prepared in advance with the questions that you’re going to ask people. When you’re networking with them in an online breakout room, be prepared with the kinds of questions that will elicit a response that will help you to get to know them on a deeper level. And always make it about them first. Resist the temptation to talk about yourself first because when they get to speak first, you might find out something that you can support them with.
Maybe they’re looking for a new web person or a copywriter – you’ll find out some resource or person they’re looking for a connection to, and then you can become a valuable resource for them to be able to refer them to whoever they’re looking for. I always look for ways that I can provide value to people.
When I meet people while networking, I ask what are they looking for, or what do they need support with in their business, or what kind of resources they’re looking for, or if they need technology tools. I want to support them, so I always ask questions like that. This way, you can learn about their needs, and then you can become a valuable resource for them.
Another key thing is to be present and to be a really good listener. When we were networking in person, what I found is that when I was talking to someone, a lot of the time they got distracted; they were looking around at who else was there. When you’re networking online, that’s not going to happen, but you should still keep focused on the person. Be present when you’re networking in person; look them eye to eye – don’t look around.
Your presence and listening are two of the biggest gifts you can give people. People will remember that, and they will really appreciate how much you were actually listening to them.
When you ask a question, you’re going to create a deeper connection and trust. One of my favorite questions to ask is what inspired them to start their business. When you ask that question, they’ll typically share a very vulnerable story about something that happened to them in their life; some problem where they had some struggle, some issue that they had that led them to seek support.
Oftentimes, I discover that they got such great results from whatever that service was that they received that they are now doing it themselves. And the person will usually want to reciprocate and do everything they can to support you and learn about you in return, so be very generous when you’re networking online.
You do need to be mindful of the time, however; so if you only have five minutes to share and there’s two of you, then each of you take two minutes and keep the time as well, because you want to be generous, but you don’t want to run out of time so that you don’t get to share what you do.
When you’re networking in person, it’s different because you usually have more time to spend making those connections. But in either setting, if someone doesn’t ask you what you do and they keep going on and on and on, and they’re talking so much, you can still bring them back to the fact that this is meant to be a conversation where you are trying to get to know each other.
You can gently interrupt them and tell them that it’s been great learning about them and what they offer, but would it be okay if you share a little bit about what you’re up to. Hopefully, they’ll then encourage you to share, as well.
If you’re not attending networking events, start attending them. I actually host one on the third Wednesday of every month. You can sign up to attend these events, which have been attracting heart-centered entrepreneurs from all over the world.
I’m going to be covering a lot more about networking in my upcoming masterclass on the 27th and 28th of September. I’ll address three critical mistakes that most entrepreneurs make that are costing them time and money. So go to https://www.powerupyourfollowup.com/masterclass/ to register and when you attend the masterclass, I have a very special gift that I’ve created for this event: Authentic Connections are Authentic Conversations. There are three templates to connect and serve from the heart cell and served from the heart. I would love to have you join the master class and to receive this free gift.
Follow up with me!
If you’d like to comment on any insights or Aha! takeaways from this blog, please feel free to contact me.
And when you start implementing these networking tips, please share with me what happened and what kind of results you got. I promise you will get much better results when you attend a networking event prepared and you show up in service to people.