It Doesn’t Have To Be So Bad!
Business networking that is.
It doesn’t have to be the angst of the shy woman in business who recoils at the thought of entering a room full of strangers she envisions are ready to pounce on her. Pounce with oodles of business cards in hand and lips dripping with “so tell me what you do” and “let me tell you what I do”. Just writing these words are enough to cause heart palpitations and sweaty palms.
Yet business networking in the 21st Century doesn’t have to be what I envision it to be. It doesn’t have to be all that bad.
In fact, it doesn’t have to be face-to-face at all. I can sit in front of my laptop all day every day and meet new folks from anywhere in the world. I can chit chat via instant message, and when braver than brave; meet face-to-face using one of the wonderful webinar tools like Zoom or GoToMeeting. It’s a breeze; isn’t it?
But What If. . .
What if business success demands I dress for success; get out of the house and meet the folks who just might make a significant difference in my business in a positive way? What does the shy woman in business do then? How do I overcome the knots in my stomach and convince my weak heart that it isn’t that bad after all.
Methods & Manners That Work!
The wonderful thing about SOCIAL MEDIA is that I can wander around the world meeting new folks – or I can seek out those who live and work in my area of the world. Those I can get to know in the safety of my home with the laptop to protect me. And once I ‘know’ them; perhaps meeting them in person is not so scary after all.
Here’s some thoughts to consider:
- reach out to those in your home area you have met via SOCIAL MEDIA
- invite them to chit-chat over coffee or lunch
- take only a few business cards with you and keep them locked away until one of two things happens: you ask for your lunch guest’s card, and she reciprocates by asking for yours. Or she simply asks if you would give her your card. Hands down the best way to approach giving and receiving business cards
- don’t plan anything else for the day you have agreed to meet over coffee or lunch
- ask her about her! Then listen to what she has to say
- let her ask you to share about you. Then share only what makes you comfortable.
- if the thought of meeting one-to-one is a bit scary; start with a small group, i.e. 2 or 3 plus you.
On 2nd thought; if one-to-one is scary. . . do it anyway. Call it “out of my comfort zone”. Then admit to your coffee or lunch date that the thought of meeting one-to-one scares you out of your wits. A little humor and a hearty laugh is a great way to start a new friendship with lasting effect. You might just find out that she too finds one-to-one scary and is launching out of her comfort zone as well. Such admissions are good for making each of us instantly more comfy with each other.
And remember to set a date for follow up. Another coffee or lunch with each other or the group will eventually lead to business success either vicariously through qualified referrals – or directly from those we’ve gotten to know very well.
Try it. You’ll find it’s an awesome way to network without really networking! (From “Answers to Basic Business Challenges).
Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, CEO & Visionary Partner
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Building a Community for Christian Business Women
The Neighborhood at Facebook
AWIBoutiques at Facebook