I am a firm believer that if you build your network, it will change your life. In my opinion, networking is one of the most important skills you can have to grow your business, build your team, and expand your client base. The impact of and the lasting effects of networking are immeasurable.
But usually, when I say the word networking, it is as if I can feel the energy sucked right out of the room. And I get it; people don’t like the idea of networking. They don’t like the idea of walking into a room full of people they don’t know and start making a conversation.
Again, I get it; it is awkward. But while networking may be uncomfortable, it has an incredible return on investment. Building relationships and investing in others can help you with your career, advance your skills, open doors, land new clients and create countless opportunities you could never have created on your own.
So, I would say that is a pretty strong return on investment for spending just a little time feeling awkward and pushing out of your comfort zone. So if networking has such a strong return on investment, then why don’t we like to network if it is so good for us.
Well, we already said it is awkward and uncomfortable, but beyond that, networking can take time. It is not an instant gratification investment. Like anything else, to get the most out of networking, you need to invest the time and understand how to network—the skill and strategies and what it takes to master the art.
4 Strategies To Turn Networking Into Results
1. Shift Your Paradigm – in other words, change how you think about networking. Instead of seeing a room full of strangers, start to see a room full of people with the connections and the information that can help you achieve any goal, get closer to any opportunity, and make significant progress in achieving your dreams.
Now that is a good perspective, right? When you are attending a networking event or meeting people for the first time, shift your paradigm to think about growth, enhancement, and an opportunity to learn.
2. Not About You – one of the biggest things people say to me about why they hate networking is they do not know what to say. Well, guess what? The good news is you do not have to say much. Networking is NOT about you.
In fact, if you are talking about yourself, you are missing the point. The point of networking is to learn about other people, who they are, their interests, talents, and most importantly, their needs.
Invest in other people first.
3. 80/20 Rule – no, this is not the typical 80/20 rule; it is more about the 80/20 talking rule. You will get the most value from networking when you talk just 20 percent of the time and listen 80 percent of the time.
So you need to be prepared to listen. How do you do that? You come ready with great questions, hang on every word, and focus on what your networking partner is saying. Use their comments to go deeper, dig deeper, and find the common ground that can help you build a strong relationship.
4. Invest To Expand – and last but not least, you need to realize that one interaction does not a relationship or value make. You need to keep investing in the relationship. Networking is a lifestyle, not a task. I
It is not something you do when you head to a networking event; you do it every day like you brush your teeth and exercise. Don’t do those things every day – well, we need to talk!
Yes, I believe that if you build your network, you will change your life. It is one of the most important things you need to do to build your life and your business and enhance your career.