Learn to Love Networking with Our 3 Step Game
If you’re new to networking, it can seem TERRIFYING. It feels like something to avoid at all costs. But, networking is an essential part of growing your business and making you more effective. Expanding the group of people you know and know you is one of the single most important activities a Small Business Owner can engage in.
So, how do you go about it if it legitimately FREAKS YOU OUT? I think the answer is to redefine what you think networking is all about. Networking is simply meeting people you don’t know and offering your help. That’s all! If you’re looking at Networking as a place to sell things to people or deliver your “30 second elevator pitch,” you’ve got it all wrong.
Try our Three Step game next time you network to make it a little more fun:
In this game, you have three activities and a goal. First, the goal: Set a number of quality connections to make in this meeting. If you do it right, it may be a small number like two or three. But, get a number in your head of quality conversations in this meeting.
With the goal in mind, here are the THREE activities to undertake:
Step One - Confidently and with all of your energy, slap on a big smile and walk up to someone you don’t know. If they’re in a conversation with someone else, wait for a moment to introduce yourself with a simple phrase, “Hello (name), I’m Pat, what do you do?”
Step Two - LISTEN. I mean, truly LISTEN to their answer. Consider their answers, and listen like you’re a detective that has to remember everything they say. If you find yourself thinking about your reply, STOP. AND LISTEN.
Step Three - Try as hard as you can to talk about THEIR business and how you can help. The goal of networking is to find ways to help others. By actively listening and asking all about their business you can find ways to help. It may be a connection you can make for them or a service of yours you could provide. You can’t find your path to help without listening. This is where the game comes in. See how long you can talk about their business. It will feel a little awkward at first, but you can get pretty deep into someone’s stuff in a 5 minutes conversation. I enjoy talking and talking about someone else’s business and eventually, they’ll take a breath and say something like “well, I’ve gone on and on, tell me about you.” Now, and only now, you can share more about your business with an engaged connection. It’s silly, it’s a game, but it’s a mental cue to SHUT UP AND LISTEN and really make a solid connection.
When the conversation slows, ask for their card and send a follow up email after the meeting. Thank them for their time. If you’d like to get a one-on-one meeting, simply ASK.
The most valuable thing in my business is my personal network. It should be in yours, too.
If there’s anything I can do to help you in your networking journey, let’s connect.
If you’d like more tips on how to network more effectively, here’s a smart article from Forbes.