by Nancy J. Lewis, MS, SHRM-CP, PHR, RCC
Intentional networking is critical to your business and career success. You may feel you are a great networker, but do you really connect with those you meet at events? Whether you meet one or ten individuals; ask yourself, how many people did you really connect with and will have conversations beyond the event? Consider the following three strategies when you go out to your next networking event.
1. Have a plan before you go to your networking event. That means doing your homework before you show up. Why are you going? What goals have you set for yourself when you get there? Is this your targeted group you want to make connections with? Is someone there you know who can make key introductions for you? Is this the best use of your time? Evaluate and answer these questions for intentional networking and watch your connections increase.
2. Get used to not giving out cards to everyone you meet. Everyone you talk to is not a connection. Business card exchanges should not just be something you do out of habit but with purposeful thought. Often times, you may exchange cards because you want to be a conduit for putting the person you just met with someone in your network. The business card exchange may not be for you personally and that is okay. The real issue
we have to address is simply giving out cards because we feel it is expected. How many times have you exchanged cards with someone you talked to for a minute or two? Did you follow up with them? Did the card even make it to your credenza in your office? Be willing to have great conversations with others; and, if there is not a reason to exchange cards be intentional, polite and keep it moving. The next person you meet might be the connection you have been waiting for. That is the power of intentional networking.
3. Get used to rejection. Develop thick skin and don't internalize every conversation that didn't go the way you thought it should. Be willing to smile and realize that when you practice intentional networking, everyone is not in the same place you are. Learn how to graciously move from those situations and remember every no is getting you closer to a yes. Rejection helps develop your character and confidence as you continue to grow your business and career.
Determine that your next event you attend you will practice intentional networking.
Nancy J. Lewis, MS, PHR, RCC
In today’s world of business, it requires you redefining your process, redesigning your process, retooling and reframing how you do business. It is no longer business as usual, but rather business as unusual. So get over the way things have always been done and don’t think outside the box; throw the box away. One thing is certain, you must understand the VIP effect to propel your business or career forward in these challenging times. So here are my pointers on the VIP effect.
V-Visibility is key. You must may sure people know who you are and what you do. A friend once told me the first rule of networking is you must show up; but once you show up what happens next. You must learn the art of connecting. Find ways to get your name or company name in the spotlight. It might be in newspaper articles, blogging, volunteering, etc. just get visible in ways that work for you.
I-Image is key. What kind of image do you radiate to others and does it represent the authentic you? You must make sure you are true to yourself and the image you project to others. How you dress, talk, act are apart of your image.
P-Performance is essential. Once you are visible and have the right image, you must be able to perform the job in the spirit of excellence. No excuses will do as you must autograph your work with excellence. Perform so people will tell others about how great you are.
Go for it and create a winning VIP!!
Your Comments Are Welcome!
By Michelle Porchia
In March I spoke at a Sisterhood Celebration weekend at a church in Raleigh, NC. I spoke on “Taking Off the Masks in Roles and Relationships.” This article is not a replication of my presentation; it is, however, another train of thought about our roles in relationships. I’m focusing on work relationships in this article, although I feel the points can also relate to personal relationships.
Connecting: We meet people under various circumstances. We never know what will come out of our meeting. There is a saying, “People come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime.” I suggest that we are open to meeting people without expectation of the purpose of the connection.
Though I am a speaker, presenter and life coach, I am also a very strong introvert. People are surprised and don’t believe it when I tell them that. The point is, I understand that some of you may be thinking “I’m shy" or “I’m not comfortable meeting people", etc. I suggest that you just allow yourself to be open to whoever may come your way. When I go to events, I set a goal to meet at least three people I don’t know.
Communicating: Communication is very important. Think before you speak. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” (Stephen Covey) Set expectations up front as to how you are going to interact/work together. Listen. Many people don’t listen to understand, they listen to respond (you’ve heard this many times). Become a good listener. Be open to hearing, and clarify what you have heard.
Collaborating is being able to work with another and to cooperate. Basically, each person brings his/her knowledge, experience, skills, thoughts, etc., to a situation and, through connecting and communicating, infusing what each person brings for the benefit of the agreed upon goal.
Ebony Speakers came together in part by using this formula. We connected at several NSA conferences. We communicated what we were doing and where we wanted to take our messages/businesses. We collaborated and created the Ebony Speakers.
What makes all of this work together for the good is being authentic, open, honest and vulnerable. Collaborating is very prominent these days. Connecting, communicating and collaborating can open many doors, opportunities and possibilities.
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.