Is the Digital World Sabotaging Your Networking Efforts?

networkingThe ability to be connected 100% of the day is ruining our networking efforts to make an authentic connection. While digital communication is great for establishing a new business connection, a human to human meeting is vital for an authentic connection to take place.

What networking efforts are you making? Are you closing deals and making the money you want? Are you getting the clientele you are spending your marketing money to attract? Are you looking for the perfect business partner or person to enter into collaboration with to take your business to the next level?

The Importance of Nonverbal Communication

The fact is if social media and other means of digital communication are your sole means of “talking” to your connections, then you are missing out on the clues personal interactions reveal. You NEED to pick up the nonverbal clues in your network. Make the conversation real.

How many times have you noticed a person’s facial expressions, tone of voice, posture changes, body movements, attitude, pauses in discussion, and hand gestures? All of the time, right? We are meant to interact with each other face-to-face.

All day long, you go through life seeing and talking to people everywhere. However, the people you are trying your hardest to connect with is the market you are only communicating with through written word.

What to Do to Improve Your Networking Efforts

Attend a networking conference, talk to people everywhere you meet for that possible connection, join professional groups online and sign up to attend their functions and events.

After you initialize a conversation, arrange for a meeting in person. Go to breakfast, get tickets for the game, simply meet at the local coffee shop. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but if you want your networking efforts online to work for you as a tool, then move it offline to get real.

HuddleDo is the perfect place for you to set up an offline meeting. When you create a Huddle, you choose the location and then meet people who are interested in networking with you. It’s the best way to take your online networking efforts offline. Start a Huddle today with many Huddlers in your area. We believe that once you do it, you’ll be hooked.

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Spring Clean Your Networking Strategy  

networking strategyIt is always exciting to see business people strategizing and taking action to achieve their goals and business for the next year. However, too many people end up in a rut. Take this time to do a spring cleanup among your network connections. Call it spring cleaning your networking strategy.

 Different Networking – Different Results

If you’re looking for fresh changes, it’s critical for you to know that you’re not going to get different results by repeating the same efforts in networking. It’s time to examine what has worked for you and what has not worked for you, so you can make changes to the weak areas of your business marketing. One common weak area identified is after establishing a connection and speaking “digitally” on a social network, there is no further action taken.

If you have taken the time to connect and gauge the interest of a potential client, customer, or employer then don’t stop! Your job is not finished. In fact, it’s just beginning. Make a list of all your stalled or hanging connections. Now, take action to propel your networking efforts all the way to the end. Make a connection that is upfront and personal to sell yourself and close the deal with a smile and handshake.

Make the following spring resolutions to get spring solutions:

 

  • Be self-confident, but not arrogant.

 

  • Work towards solutions that directly impact the accomplishment of business goals.

 

  • Make a to-do list of action items to support your networking efforts.

 

  • Hold yourself accountable.

 

  • Love and believe in yourself.

 

  • Have a good attitude and a big smile during every networking interaction.

 

  • Seek out valuable opportunities for networking face-to-face to significantly grow your business.

 

American Express has published a fantastic article on the 7 Best Places for Business Networking. We recommend checking them out!

 

  • Chamber of Commerce

 

  • Business Networking International

 

  • SCORE

 

  • Le Tip International

 

  • Meet up

 

  • Eventbrite

 

  • Volunteer Organizations

 

Now, start networking in a new way that will have new results. Start a Huddle for the spring. It’s the best way to spring clean your networking strategy!

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Face to Face Networking: Why It’s Not a Thing of the Past

face to face networkingIn this date and age, technology is the standard mode of communication for people of all ages, backgrounds, and professions. But what is being left behind?

Cursive script is being taught less and less in school as the handwritten letter becomes a thing of the past, it’s being traded for emails, text messages, and instant messages. Unfortunately, many people are subscribing to the same theory as it applies to networking. While social networking platforms have opened up doors of opportunity, business match-ups, and exposure leading to new markets, there are a few simple benefits of good old fashioned face to face networking that social platforms can’t duplicate.

Human, social interaction is an essential part to quality communication and beneficial networking for all parties involved. Handshakes, eye contact, voices, facial expressions, and laughter all feeds into the natural psychology of connecting with other humans on the deepest level possible.

Now, don’t neglect your social networking efforts, but start utilizing them to meet new people and make those face to face introductions necessary for business. Author Meridith Elliott Powell tells of the importance of utilizing social networking contacts into face to face meetings in order to secure additional business.

How to Start Face-to-Face Networking

Join professional groups and attend their functions. Seek out and attend face to face networking events in your community. Be sure to be prepared with business cards and a strategy for each event depending on your goals. Don’t stay in the corner or limit your networking to a few people. Mingle and get yourself out there. Be sure to follow up after each event with your new connections.

Additionally, you can host your own face to face networking social on a monthly or quarterly basis. Bring community professionals together to open the path for potential clients and business opportunities that benefit the community. Offer refreshments, discounts, and samples from attendees as a way to get people mingling.

You can also use HuddleDo to set up a face-to-face networking event. Ask some people to join you at a destination of your choice, and when two other accept, you have a Huddle. It’s that simple. Try it out today to see how it will work for you!

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Social Ecosystems for Successful Networking

social ecosystemsBeing successful at networking has a lot to do with how you perceive it. People who don’t see it as something that will grow their business will usually not succeed with it. Those that do believe it’s valuable to the growth of their business will see how beneficial it is to them.

What Are Social Ecosystems?

One of the successful ways of viewing networking is by thinking of ecosystems – social ecosystems. The website, Big Think, recently published an article about social ecosystems, which warrants an explanation.

A social ecosystem is a group of people that work towards a goal. You can have many ecosystems working on different goals. When all of the ecosystems achieve their goals, they produce results that contribute to the overall goal of the organization.

How Social Ecosystems Relate to Networking

Let’s take that to networking. When you network, you meet people. Each person has skills and experience that can be used to create a part of what you need to achieve your goals. As you meet people, you can start to organize them into common skills and experience. Each group of people is an ecosystem. As you work with each ecosystem, you start to see how your business grows with their help. When you work with many different groups of people, you start to see how those parts are helping you and your business.

Since it’s easier to work when there are more people, this is why you should always continue to network to find more people to be part of one of your ecosystems. The more people you have, the greater the help you’ll receive.

It’s not only about getting help though – it’s about becoming part of an ecosystem too. When people meet you, they are probably mentally putting you in a group as well. That’s their ecosystem. As you help them and they help you, the ecosystems become beneficial to the businesses involved.

Take a few minutes to look over your contacts now to see how you can organize them to create your own social ecosystems. You may want to create something visual to better understand how this way of looking at networking can help you. Once you get the hang out it, you’ll start to see how all of the ecosystems work separately but then together to achieve the success you want.

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Are You Networking with the Wrong People?

networkingWhen you network with the wrong people, you start to feel as though networking isn’t your thing. You don’t see the point in it because you don’t see the results. The problem is that most people don’t know they are networking with the wrong people. They just place blame on networking. The best way to succeed with networking is to find out who you need to reach out to when you’re at an event.

Finding the Right People

When you attend a networking event that is advertised, you can use the Internet to find out who will be attending. Social media is one of the best places to start. You can search for the name of the event to see if anyone has made any mention of it. If you don’t get any results with that, you can post about your attendance to the event. This might spark some people to let you know they will be attending too.

As you meet people online that are going to the event, you can start to ask who they know that is going. As you get some names, you’ll be able to research who they are and what they are doing. That’s how you start to discover who the right people are for networking.

The more connecting you do with people, the more you can find out about who is attending. Try to do this a week or two before the event to give yourself enough time to research.

Getting Ready for the Event

When you have a list of people who seem to be in the same business as you, make sure to have mental or written down notes on why you want to connect with them. You may also want to note what you can discuss with the people you meet. This will help you break the ice as you are mingling at the event.

While researching the people who are attending the networking event you are going to may seem like you have stalker tendencies, it’s the wise way to approach it. This way you don’t waste time on people who probably won’t be interested in you or you interested in them.

Start researching today by finding a networking event in your area OR research some of the people on HuddleDo, and then invite them for a Huddle. Our site is a great way to start networking with the right people to see your business grow.

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Starting a New Business with Networking

networkingMany people wonder if they should start a new business. They want to do it, but they don’t always have the time or all of the knowledge and skills needed to start one. This can seem like starting a new business is impossible. Luckily, with a little networking, people can start a new business.

How Networking Helps Start a New Business

You don’t need to have all of the knowledge and skills for a new business. The most successful founders of a business will bring in people who have that talent they need. By bringing in one person that can handle one aspect of the business, and then bringing in someone else who can handle another part of it, a new business can materialize.

The only way to know who you should bring into your new business idea is to network. When you meet people, you will learn about what they know and their experience. For example, you may find someone who is excellent at sales, but another person who is good at lead generation. With those two people, you can bring in potential customers, and then convert them to buyers. If you need a website, you can bring in a website designer.

How to Get Started

The best way to get started is to sit down and create a business plan. This will help you figure out who you will need to help you. Start with the foundation of your business. Do you need products? Who will supply them? If you are starting a service-oriented business, who will provide the services? Figure out which parts of your business you will do yourself. Make a list of jobs you will need someone to do.

Once you have your list, start looking for networking events or use HuddleDo to find people in your local area to create a Huddle. Research the people that are going to the event or the ones you want to invite to a Huddle. You should make it a point to connect with the people that can potentially help you with starting your business.

When you meet the people you’ve researched, don’t expect them to jump right on board with you. Not everyone is interested or can devote the time to help you. Actually, many times, you will need to offer your knowledge and skills first. You’ll need to give to get with networking, so be prepared to offer something that people need with their business. After you’ve invested some of your time or even money, those people are usually much more likely to want to help you.

Now that you know how to start a new business by bringing in people to help you, get started with a business plan. Figure out what you’re going to do, and then network with people who can help you. Before you know it, you’ll have a new business successfully growing.

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6 Tips to Rock at Networking

ID-10042800Networking is not hard. Many people think it is because they tell themselves that, but it’s really not when you are prepared and have experience in it.  The following tips will help you network like a pro right from the start.

  1. Have fun, but don’t have too much fun. Networking events are social events, so you should have fun with them. You shouldn’t drink too much though because then you may act inappropriately and that won’t leave a good lasting impression. Have a drink or maybe two depending on how you handle it, and just relax.
  2. Prepare for the networking event by thinking about what you would like to discuss with people. You should want to learn about people’s businesses, so focus on that first. Then you should think about what you want to say about your business because that will come up eventually.
  3. Mingle as much as possible. It won’t be a successful networking event if you just stand in the corner. Walk around, extend your hand and meet people.
  4. Listen more than you speak. Don’t dominate every conversation. Ask questions and then actively listen to what the person is saying. You can learn a lot about a person, how you can help him, and what he can do for you in just a few minutes of listening.
  5. Have your business cards ready. You don’t want to leave someone with no way for him to contact you after the networking event. Make sure your business card includes a phone number, email address, website URL, and other information to contact you to make it convenient for people.
  6. Don’t forget to smile. It’s hard when you’re nervous, but try to fake it. You are more approachable when you smile. People think you’re welcoming them because you seem warm when you smile. Just don’t end up with a permanent smile the whole time. As you start talking to someone, it’s okay to relax your face and exhibit appropriate facial expressions for what the person is saying to you.

With these 6 tips on rocking a networking event, you will find that it goes much easier for you. Just go and have a good time meeting people. Before you know it, you’ll start to get the hang of it and there won’t be anything holding you back.

What other tips do you have for our community? What’s your trick to rocking a networking event? Let us know in the comments!

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5 Mistakes Not to Make at a Networking Event

networking eventPeople make mistakes all of the time. We’re all human.  But the best way not to make a mistake is to know what others have done and then avoid repeating them. The following are some of the most common mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1: Wearing Something Uncomfortable

Watch out for that jacket or shoes that might be a bit too tight. You’ll be feeling it throughout the entire event and pay more attention to them than meeting people. Not only that, you will probably be more self-conscious and that can ruin your self-confidence. Only wear an outfit and shoes that you feel completely comfortable and powerful in, so you can relay that feeling when you are meeting people.

Mistake #2: Talking Too Much

People end networking with “talkers” quickly. They run from talkers. Don’t make people want to head for the hills because you dominate the conversation. Step back, ask questions, and allow the person you approached to speak. You can then step back in when that person asks you questions. Don’t take it as permission to go on and on about yourself though. Keep it short and sweet because the person you’re speaking to will appreciate it and be more likely willing to connect with you again.

Mistake #3: Drinking Too Much

Talking too much and drinking too much sometimes go hand in hand. You should never treat a networking event as a party. You need to maintain your composure and be professional. It’s okay to have one or two drinks to relax you and get in the groove, but limit yourself, so you don’t end up being the one that is boisterously drunk.

Mistake #4: Hide

Networking events are for meeting new people. When you spend most of your time in the bathroom, in the corner, or in the lobby, you will probably leave feeling as though it was a waste of your time. Get out there and shake some hands to make connections. Put your worries and inhibitions aside, so you can see who can help you and who you can help.

Mistake #5: Leave Empty Handed

Business cards, website URLs, LinkedIn profile names, and other ways to connect should be in your hands or pockets as you leave from the network event. You can then reconnect with people to take your connections one step forward.

Now that you know the most common mistakes for a networking event, make sure you don’t make the same ones. They are easy to avoid, so just keep them in mind and do your best. You’ll soon find that you don’t have to worry about messing up and can network with people successfully.

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Hosting Your Own Networking Event

networking eventIn a recent article on Entrepreneur.com, 6 Surprisingly Effective Networking Tactics They Won’t Teach You in Business School, the author identifies holding your own networking event as the first one. We believe this is because it’s the most important one.

Why Holding a Networking Event Is Important

When you start a networking event of your own, you are going to be the center of attention. Instead of you going up to tons of people, they will come to you. They will want to introduce themselves to you to thank you for holding the event, and in that time, you learn a lot about your attendees. As you’re learning, you get to engage with them to see if there is going to be a connection that can be taken further. If not, they can find others at the event to connect with and so will you.

There’s something else about being the host of a networking event – it makes you a pro networker. It makes you more confident and better able to present yourself to people. This can lead to stronger connections to help you grow your business. There’s a little-known saying in the networking world; you should always pretend you’re the host of a networking event because it will help you feel more confident. However, when you are the host, you don’t have to pretend.

How HuddleDo Helps

HuddleDo bases its entire model off people hosting their own networking events. When you sign up, you can host a Huddle. We refer to you in this case as an Organizer.  You Organize a Huddle by inviting people who are also members of HuddleDo and in the area you want to have the Huddle. Once you invite a few people and some accept, you have a Huddle. You can go off and be the host of your small networking event.

The great thing about using HuddleDo to host your own networking event is that you can have as many as you would like, or join as many as you’ve been invited to. You also don’t have to worry about holding an event that doesn’t have a good turnout. Usually, people who accept a Huddle make it a commitment to meet.

So follow the great advice of an Entrepreneur.com author and many other networkers such as the founders of HuddleDo, and start hosting your own networking event with a Huddle.

Stop Networking So Much – Network with Purpose

ID-10043414The title of this post probably makes you think we’ve been leading you astray. Week after week, we tell you to network, network, and network some more. This week, we’re telling you to back off. Okay, well, we don’t want to tell you to end your networking efforts. What we want you to do is network effectively by having a purpose.

Many people are drive-by networkers. They meet as many people as possible handing over a business card just for the sake of saying they networked with hundreds. The problem is that those hundreds of business card holders probably don’t lead to the benefits of networking. If you don’t form a solid connection with these people, you never end up seeing or working with them.

This is why many networking experts, including Zella King, recommend that you network with a small number of people to form strong relationships with them. These relationships are what will help you get ahead. You speak with them, learn about them, and move forward with them on projects. You are using those relationships with a purpose. The purpose is not only for selfish benefits. You must be willing to give in that relationship as well. That’s the only way that relationship (and all of the other relationships in your life) will work.

Let’s take an example, so you can see how well this works:

Cindy goes to a networking event. She approaches a woman who is in the same industry. She introduces herself and then asks how her business is going. The woman tells her that there have been many ups and downs, but they’ve just started a new project that is set to bring in a lot of new business. Cindy asks about the project and discovers she has worked on a similar project a couple of years ago. She offers some advice and then hands over a business card.

A couple days later, Cindy receives a call from the woman. She would like Cindy’s assistance with the project. Cindy excitedly agrees to help. As Cindy is helping, she meets many new connections, and end up using those connections to grow your business. She doubles her business’ revenue because of these new connections.

Start Networking with a Purpose

So as much as we tell you to network as much as possible, don’t become a drive-by networker. Extend the hand, take time to listen and learn, and then turn those new people into partnerships in your business and life. That’s when you start to see the power of networking.

 

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