This week’s networking tip comes from my good friend and client, Rosemarie Burton. Rosemarie recently retired after serving as President of Klingberg Family Centers for many productive years. She is now a business coach with specializing in succession planning for non-profits. (see her bio below).
Photo: this is my cat Thanks (she also goes by the nicknames of Princess and Cuddles). Whenever I need to relax and re-set, I just have to glance at her in her many different relaxed positions. Any anxiety I am having just melts away.
Does the very thought of your next “networking” opportunity make you conjure up all sorts of excuses for why you are just too busy? Or perhaps you suddenly feel like you might be coming down with something, something very contagious. Unfortunately, many people cringe at the thought of having to master self promotion techniques in order to move their business or cause forward.
Here’s My Tip…Relax. Instead of rehearsing how to successfully market yourself in less than a minute, show more interest in the people you are meeting. Be genuine. Ask questions. The kind of questions that say you really do care about their answers. For example:
- “So, how did you get into this line of work?
- Is this what you originally thought you might be doing?
- If you could do something for a living that really utilized your gifts and talents, what would that be? “
Whether you wind up talking about their kids, what they like to do on weekends, or their favorite reality show, what really matters is that you have made a connection. You took the time to get to know someone a little bit better
When people sense someone is genuine and comfortable in their own skin, they are far more likely to consider your business or services when the need arises. If it seems appropriate, it is always worthwhile to continue the relationship by sending a handwritten note or an e-mail.
Many of the people I have “networked” with over the years have resulted in mutually beneficial professional associations. Many others have become friends. I was reminded of this recently while I was teaching my 23 month old twin granddaughters, Lily and Abbie, an old song I learned in Girl Scouts “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” Gold and Silver are always good investments.
Your Networking Goal for this week
This week, set aside your elevator pitch and become more relaxed when you network. Your job is simply to ask questions and to get to know someone new. Practice breathing, smiling and even laughing – that should relax you. Trust that you will be making a good investment of your time and effort. You will be making new connetions and enjoying yourself. Ahhhh…
*About Rosemarie Burton: A proven leader with more than 30 years of experience forging strong bonds to benefit children and families. Rosemarie understands the pressures executives face. Managing people and programs on both the state and private level has provided her with a rich and varied experience. By Your Side Coaching & Consulting of North Carolina is Rosemarie’s own unique collection of services providing executive coaching, job benchmarking, succession planning, leadership development and team effectiveness building. Visit her on the web at http://byyoursidenc.com/or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org