The art of networking

Listen…and you might learn

Networking is not a new phenomenon but why do so many people find it difficult (i.e. shy away from it) or are so bad at it?

Often times people think that showing up to an event, shoving business cards whilst looking over ones shoulder to see if there is anyone better to talk to is networking. But those 50 business cards tend to end up on a pile on ones desk (or worse in the bin) because they have no idea who these people really are nor do they understand the real value from the networking event.

Because we are too busy trying to be fabulous and not listening!

Listening has taken on a new form – someone talking at you while you are busy typing, texting or drowning in a head full of so much noise that you just can’t focus.

Networking is an art form and doesn’t need to be scary, but it does mean sometimes putting yourself in situations where you need to take a deep breath, square your shoulders and go forth into the wild.

One woman described what I do as ‘setting people up like a dating service’. I laughed (for a second) then realised she was right. That is exactly what I do. Spend the time really listening to that person, getting to know them as a person and understand what makes them tick (by letting the conversation move from one tangent to another like you are talking to a friend), and through this you will

  • learn a thing or ten and
  • be sure to be able to find a common element to connect with (it may be your love of Game of Thrones in your first encounter but enough to create a spark and three months later, an opportunity to work together)

Even if you are dying to tell your story, don’t rush it otherwise you will end up taking over the night and people will feel like their story isn’t worth telling (event if your story is exciting), let it flow like a good tennis rally and you will get your message out there.

So are you ready to make genuine connections and see how being open to opportunities will take you? Let’s chat –

No air kisses allowed!