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Imagine if you had the key to attracting more customers, growing your business faster, and creating sustainable success in your personal and professional life.
YOU DO. It’s called Networking.
The “networking” I am referring to is business networking. The act of the face-to-face connecting with like-minded business peers in an effort to get referrals and grow your business. This may be a bit of a foreign idea for some since so much of our business-related world these days is on-line. We speak to people on daily basis without ever feeling the boundaries of city, state and even country thanks to tools like Skype and Google Talk. But if you are a work-at-home professional, you need to cultivate the “off-line” connection just as much as your “on-line” connections.
Now I know there’s probably more than a few of you getting the heebie-jeebies about now. Sometimes the thought of “business networking” conjures up visions of groups of stuffy Bankers in three-piece suits.
I personally love networking. It’s the chance to meet new people (most small business owners like myself), make new connections, and make new friends.
Is it sometimes out of my comfort zone? YUP. But, last time I checked, no one ever died from Networking and you have nothing to lose and much to gain. You don’t need fancy equipment, clothes, or a degree. Just come-as-you-are and connect with people who potentially be your ideal customer.
Non Painless Tips for Effective Networking
- Smile Power! You smile at someone and they smile back. It’s an automatic reaction because the brain is hardwired to function that way. A smile opens a door to friendly communications. Never leave home without it.
- TAG TEAM! If you are at event, travel in pairs like the FBI. Plus when you “travel in pairs” it gives you a sense of security, confidence, and it works brilliantly if you don’t know the same people. Just remember to introduce your travelmate and not leave them standing looking awkward and lost.
- YOU GOTTA KISS SOME FROGS: Attending one event, social, or gathering does not make you a Power Networker. Challenge yourself to seek out networking opps at least twice a month. Once there, challenge yourself to make one solid and valuable connection. BE SEEN and make an effort to genuinely connect with people.
- Part Thy Lips and SPEAK: Learn to ask “What do you do?” with sincerity and interest. Follow up with “what do you like about what you do”.
**ON THE FLIP side: Be ready to have that answer to those same questions yourself! Practice summing up what you do in a few easy-to-understand sentences (elevator speech).
Networking Opps: The Brainerd Lakes Chamber has many awesome networking opportunities. Some require you to be a Chamber member, but most do not. Contact The Chamber and find out the schedule on networking events like CHOW, Business After Hours, Business Before Hours, Lakes Vybe, and ChamberNet.