Networking is one of the most important things you can do to boost your business – and your self confidence to move on to greater successes. But meeting people can be a challenge to some – even though meeting others online provides some level of anonymity.
Fear starts rearing its ugly head, especially if you’re a newbie and trying to meet people on forums where everyone seems to know what they’re doing and exactly where they’re going and how to get there.
Although networking may evoke self doubt for some, it can be the best move you could ever make to grow your business. You don’t have to join online conversations and forums pretending that you’re already successful.
In fact, most marketers are more than willing to help newbies succeed and go overboard to be sure you’re getting the information you need and the help you ask for. They’ll proudly share ideas and past successes and failures with you and will likely support you in your ventures.
It’s good to know people going through the same thing you are. They can provide support whenever you feel alone as an entrepreneur – helping you work through self doubt issues and get back in the groove with your productivity.
Participate in events and meet-ups that you’ve researched and are sure that they’re relevant to what you’re trying to accomplish. You don’t want to waste your time participating in an event that brings you no new or relevant information.
Before the event, think of some conversation starters to get information flowing. Know as much as you can about the product or services to avoid tedious questions. Also, think of ways you can end a conversation if you get into a boring or irrelevant one.
Links and business cards are great ways to network, too. If you’re attending a meet-up session or going to a seminar, be prepared to pass on a lot of cards and ask for others. You may end up with some future clients or JV partners to add to your list.
To network successfully, you should be genuinely engaged with the other person and focus on making the conversation interesting and bringing out others in a positive manner.
Mainly, think about what you’re going to say or conversations you’d like to engage in prior to the event and try to inspire others as well as be inspired. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone once in awhile to experience new ideas.
You may be surprised to find out how much you already know about your industry compared to others you meet either on or offline. Networking is a business strategy that many marketers underplay, but can be an invaluable part of your future business successes.