- 30 seconds? 60 seconds … 10 minutes?
- Different buildings?
Note: The following is an excerpt from Power Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly! By Rae Stonehouse.
The buzzword for conducting business effectively in the new millennium may very well prove to be “networking.” In turn, the key element of a networking interaction is the elevator pitch or elevator speech as some would call it. We used them as children … “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine!”
Well perhaps not quite the same but at its essence it’s an opportunity to show your stuff and to learn about the other person. Assuming they follow the rules of course.
Okay, if you are thinking that is a pretty bold statement to make, I would agree with you.
Any time that you see the words “secret” and “revealed” together in the same sentence, I would advise caution. It is usually followed by a request for payment for the content of the secret to be revealed to you. I am going to reveal the secret to you for free, after all, it was given to me at no charge.
The secret to being a power networker is … [drum roll please] ACTASIF. Say what?
Simply put, to be a power networker i.e. one who is effective in their networking activities, act as if you already are successful. You may find it somewhat anticlimactic to hear this one word secret if you haven’t heard the expression before. Another way of saying it would be “fake it until you make it.” Or with a bit of a stretch it could be “mind over matter.”
At a recent networking event I made comment to a woman that since having met her within the past year I was starting to see her at a lot of different events. She replied “Yeah me to. You are the red car!”
I immediately recognized the red car reference from the Law of Attraction. The idea being that if you were to buy a red car or even were thinking about buying one, then you would start noticing red cars everywhere. The Universe recreates itself for you. Up until that point red cars were not in your range of focus.
Wikipedia defines a thought leader as being an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.
Would being recognized as a leader in your field or in your business make a difference to your bottom line? Is it possible for mere mortals, average people like you and I to become thought leaders?
I believe that it is not only possible to become a leader in your specific field but that it is in the reach of most of us to do so. With my keen interest in developing my business networking skills I am working towards becoming one of those thought leaders. I write about practical networking skills development for shy people as well as those that have some networking skills and want to improve their success rate.
I recently noticed the often used saying “You Get Back What You Give” written in large letters on a roadside display board at a local church. Perhaps they are stating the obvious but then one’s base personality of being an optimist or a pessimist might come into play. Do you see the world as one of opportunity or as one of danger and threats?
If you are a believer in the law of attraction you have likely also heard the sayings “you reap what you sew” or “what you think about comes about.” Dr. Ivan Meisner, Founder of BNI describes this as the “Givers Gain” principal. The law of reciprocity says that if you provide a service or favour for another they will likely feel obligated to return the favour. I have read somewhere that it creates a tension in the individual who has received a favour to the extent that they feel a discomfort until they have returned the favour and evened the score. This may be at a subconscious level and they wouldn’t even be aware of why they are doing it.
“Do your hands start sweating and your legs shake with the thought of having to not only attend a business networking session but actually talk to people?”
“Do you feel paralyzed by the fear of rejection when you are at a business networking event?
“Would you rather have a root canal than attend a business networking event?
“Would you rather send an e-mail to a business lead than meet them in person?”
Well if any of these apply … you may be shy!
Legend has it that Johnny Appleseed traveled the American countryside spreading apple seeds randomly, everywhere he went.
In fact, according to Wikipedia, he planted nurseries rather than orchards, built fences around them to protect them from livestock, left the nurseries in the care of a neighbor who sold trees on shares, and returned every year or two to tend the nursery.
Many people’s business networking activities can be a lot like randomly spreading those apple seeds. Some might grow but most likely left to their own, they will fail to develop and eventually die off.
Relationships need to benurtured. Often the word cultivated is used to describe what needs to take place for a relationship to grow. Both words are really describing an active interest, desire and taking action oriented steps to develop a relationship with another individual.
So how does one cultivate a relationship? I have some cynical colleagues who would say that would treat them the same way as you would cultivate mushrooms. You keep them in the dark and feed them BS [male cow manure.] I would suspect that they have few quality connections. I certainly wouldn’t want to be connected to them with that attitude.
“Nice day eh?”
“To bad about the Canucks!”
“Isn’t this weather something?”
We have heard them all before … meaningless comments that are more likely to end a conversation than to advance it.
For the many people that we encounter during our daily travels perhaps this is all that is needed. If we had long drawn out conversations with everyone, we likely wouldn’t accomplish everything that we need to in a day.
I’ve often heard it said in reference to “self-help” books … “If you get only one gem or a useful tip from a book it makes all of your reading time worthwhile.” While that may be true, it can have you spending a lot of time with your nose in a book.
The same principal can be applied … inefficiently … to your networking activities … “One contact can make a world of difference in your business …” In essence you are leaving your success to serendipity.
Serendipity, or leaving everything to chance, while awe-inspiring when it works, is not something that you can control or count on.
I am sure that most of us have heard of the practice of reading a message scrawled on a public restroom wall of “For a good time call …” There is a usually a phone number accompanying the message. In all likelihood the individual mentioned is not aware of the advertising being done on their behalf nor would they likely agree with it. More than likely it was scrawled by an adolescent male, driven by testosterone and thinking it was pretty funny. Having not spent any time in the women’s restroom I can only assume that this practice only happens in the men’s.
If the individual named actually wrote the message in question well I guess it could be attributed to some savvy targeted marketing.