This past week my mother and I went to an event focusing on saving for retirement. This event was regarding a subject I am absolutely interested in – due to my drive to retire and live life to the fullest at an early age. I and my mother sat at a large round table, dead center of the room facing the screen. Several people had beat us into the room and collectively sat at the tables around us. One couple came in and sat with us, then decided to move further back to remain slightly more “out of the line of sight”. As the next two ladies walked in and migrated towards our table, I politely said hi as they sat down. This blog will specifically focus on tips in networking and the importance of having some sort of a plan when in a networking situation. Although, networking can be planned, often networking scenarios occur when you least expect it, therefore, I’ll throw some tips in to be prepared no matter what.
I pause my story to ask you, when was the last time you said “Hi” first? How about the last time you initiated a conversation with a perfect stranger? All my introverts and socially awkward people hate me right now, but possessing this particular skill is an absolute necessity for any one networking or looking to grow their business. So here’s an article with small tips on “How to introduce yourself in ANY setting”. Something so small can make or break a business decision or social event; I mean first impressions, right? Back to my story…
We began speaking on a topic of discussion that happened recently in the news and then proceeded to carry a conversation about several other common topics. Prior to the event starting, one of the ladies asked me the million-dollar question; she asked “Jas what do you do for a living” my response was “Well, basically, I find what others are passionate about, then I help them make money doing it”. In my prior blog “Reeeed Robin…Yum” I specifically focus on the idea of personal branding and the importance of narrowing your personal tag line. She asked several other questions then stated she had a family member in my field and inquired as to my info to pass along for networking purposes.
Ok – Pause. I’d like to say, this was not planned. I hadn’t gone to this event with the intentions of networking AND This story is absolutely in hindsight. Due to my background in sales, marketing and training; mixed with the randomness of my personality, my procession down this route of networking was natural. So, one thing to notate, networking truly does happen ANYwhere, with ANYone. So if this is not natural to you, and you feel a slight tightening in your stomach while thinking about it, take a moment and look at some tips to help ensure no matter the scenario, you have some aces in the pocket to help you along the way; you absolutely never know who you’re talking to.
As the event proceeded, I learned a lot from these two ladies whom had joined our table. Ending the event, I walked out with two new connections; one in my field and one in a field that interests me. Furthermore, the best part was that I ended up with an excellent frame of reference to introduce me to both connections, the ladies at the table themselves. Many times, networking occurs randomly, I find that some of the best connections I’ve made happened outside of networking events. I understand this may not be the case for some, so if you find yourself at a networking event in the future, check out some tips on how to survive.
Last but not least in this I’d like to leave you with some of my tips for networking. They may sound familiar, you may already do some of them, but if not; great! In addition, please comment and leave some of your tips. Feel free to leave a story as to a positive or negative networking situation. I’d love to hear from you!