Face Rejection with a Smile

RejectionYou go to a networking event that ends up being a successful one. You come away from it with many business cards. As you start calling or emailing people, you realize some of them are either not responding or tell you point blank they are not interested in connecting with you. Rejection…It hurts. It makes you want to run, hide, and never go to another networking event. But wait, don’t run off just yet. There’s something important you can learn from rejection, so you should learn to embrace it.

Rejection Is a Good Thing

Everyone would love to have people be open to connecting. It’s what networking is all about, and it’s what makes growing a business possible. According to Anisa Mirza, the CEO and co-founder of Giveffect:

You should take this as an opportunity to learn why they may have refused.

Turning rejection into a learning experience will help you understand networking more and fine tune your approach, so more people will want to connect with you. The following are some of the things you can learn from rejection.

You don’t need to connect with everyone. Some people will try to connect with every single person they met at a networking event. You don’t need to do that because it’s ineffective. You only need to connect with people you feel will help you grow your business, or you can help them. If you just want to collect as many people as possible, you will likely get rejected more because those people don’t feel they can help you, or you can help them.

You came off too strong. People are busy. They don’t have time to discuss your business at length. If you spoke too much about your business at a networking event, that’s probably why they don’t want to connect with you afterwards.

People don’t understand networking. It’s not always your fault. Some people don’t understand that after networking events people reach out to connect with those they met. They aren’t interested in pursuing a relationship with people. It’s weird but true. You can usually tell when someone isn’t using networking to its potential because that person usually disappears after the event.

It’s not a good time. Many times, people think they were rejected when the person they connect with says that it’s not a good time. It may not be you. In life, things come up, and people don’t always have the time to connect. Instead of throwing that contact away, keep it, and then reach out again a couple months later. You may just find that the person will be available and more than willing to connect with you then.

There are many other reasons someone may reject you after a networking event. Those reasons don’t always have to do with you, but when they do, try to learn from them. You don’t have to run away from networking events because of rejection. Use those rejections as ways to grow. Before you know it, you won’t have as many because you chose to face rejection with a smile.

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5 Reasons You Need to Network More

reasons to networkNetworking is one of the best types of advertising, and it doesn’t cost as much money either. All you have to do is participate in events, introduce yourself, learn about other people’s businesses, and talk about your own. At the end of the event, you could have a pocket full of contacts that could lead you to bigger and better business opportunities.

Grabbing business cards to connect with people isn’t the only benefit. There are so many other reasons to network more.

Help Others

Most people love to be able to assist people with their business. If you are this kind of person, you can help others grow their business. All you have to do is give out some advice. People will be appreciative of it, and over time, they may just see you as the go-to person for knowledge on business topics. What’s even better is once you help a person, they will feel as though they are indebted to you and want to help you in some way. That could turn into a nice referral.

Raise Self-Confidence

The more you talk about your business and how successful it is, the better you’ll feel about yourself. When you have a lot of self-confidence, you will not only meet more people, but people will be drawn to you because they think you have something awesome to share.

Learn More About Business

You won’t just give out advice, but you’ll also get it. No matter how many years you’ve been in business, there’s always more to learn because the business world is constantly changing. By speaking to other business leaders, you can learn from their experiences, which could save you from making the same mistakes they did. Advice can lead you towards growth and help manage your business much more efficiently.

Improve Reputation

As people keep seeing you around, they will develop trust in you, so your reputation will improve. Face-to-face conversations are usually more positive and perceived credible compared to other forms of communication such as those online.

What’s so great about reputation? The better your reputation is, the more opportunities could come your way.

Better Your Mental Health

A well-known article by Brad Hunter, The Subtle Benefits of Face-To-Face Communication points out:

“…involvement in community actually increases a person’s biological and mental health. Biologists and psychologists have also shown that physical contact provides biological benefits, as well, and without it people become depressed and ill.”

There’s no denying that face-to-face networking is important and beneficial to you. This includes your business and personal life. All it takes is a regular appearance at networking events in your community. That can be once a week, every other week, or several times a month. Whenever you can fit it into your schedule, you should be networking.

Do you have some reasons it’s important to network more? Please leave them in the comments to encourage others to get out there and make great things happen in their business.

Research Finds Face-to-Face Networking Invaluable

face-to-face networkingWith LinkedIn, Google+, and many other online social networking sites, people have started to isolate themselves. They are turning to their computer screens rather than to their community for networking. While connecting with some people online may lead to great business ventures, new research has found that networking offline is invaluable.

EY researchers have found that even though people can connect on conference calls and emails, these connections do not hold the same value as sitting face-to-face with people. In their poll, professionals prefer offline networking over online. Out of the 750 business professionals they surveyed, 70% of those at the executive level network in person. Seventy one percent of the people who network in person find it “very valuable.”

Online networking is great. It should not be tossed to the side. However, offline networking shouldn’t be thrown out to allow online in. These two types of networking methods should be merged. People should use them both to be successful with networking.

For instance, you can find people online using LinkedIn, Google+, and connect with them a few days a week, but then once a week, you should head out into the community to a networking event. You’ll start to see that your brand will extend even farther when you join these two methods. Not only will you be finding people in the community to work with, but you will also be able to pull people from all parts of the world to help you.

Networking isn’t supposed to be contained. It should be open to all opportunities – online and offline.

Many successful networkers will go to local networking events, and then come home and connect with the people they met on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and email. By doing this, you’re able to connect with them in more than one way, which keeps them in your network.

Other networkers will bring a group of people together online and then set up an event with those people. Many times, the people in the online group will ask others to come, which brings in so much more value.

With all the online options you have to network, don’t allow it to cloud your vision. Offline networking has so much value, and the people who are using it are the ones that are pulling ahead because they are creating relationships with people they can touch.

What mix of online and off-line networking do you find most beneficial to your business?  We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Boost Confidence for Better Networking

Boost ConfidenceNot everyone can walk into a networking event, shake hands with people, and collect hundreds of leads. Many people don’t have the confidence to do that, and it does take a certain level of it to succeed. There are many ways to build confidence though, but you may want to try this one next time because it seems to be the most effective.

Be the Host

When you’re a guest at a party or networking event, you will likely take the role of follower. The host of the party or event is “supposed” to lead people. He or she is in charge of bringing people together, introducing themselves, and making sure the event is one that everyone has a good time at. It seems as though the host is doing all of the networking, while the guests simply sit back and enjoy the show.

What many people don’t realize is that there really is no host at a networking event. Sure, there’s someone who brought the event together, and they deserve recognition for that; however, every person at the networking event can be a host.

This technique in building confidence to make a networking event a success comes from a well-known book, Skills for Success: A Guide to the Top for Men and Women. Adele M. Scheele explains how to be a host and how it can significantly boost confidence levels when networking.

Some people may look at her approach and think, “I can’t act like the host.” That’s okay, because you shouldn’t be acting like the host, you should BE the host.

What does being the host mean?

When new people enter the event, go up, and introduce yourself with something like, “Hi, I’m Jim. Welcome! What do you do?” As you meet people, you will find commonalities among them. Don’t be afraid to bring these people together. For instance, you can say, “You’re in Internet marketing? I just met someone doing something similar in his business, so let me introduce you.”

It’s about taking the pressure off you. You’re turning it around on people. The more people you meet, the more connections you’ll make, and some of those could end up being beneficial for you.

Getting Past the Anxiety

Telling you to go into a networking group and introducing yourself to as many people as possible may seem impossible for you. It’s all in how you look at it though.

When you are “being the host,” you are not introducing yourself only to get something out of it for you, but you’re doing it to connect others at the party. When you take the pressure off you, you’ll likely feel much more motivated to extend a hand and start networking. In turn, you’ll end up learning about what people do, and if you end up meeting people you can connect with, your new networking technique will be a success.

Try it out, come back, and let us know how it went in the comments!

3 Networking Challenges Solved

networking challengesChallenges abound in just about everything we do; getting past them is what separates those of us who succeed from those who don’t. Networking is no different. This is why we’re going to present three networking challenges many people face and the best way to overcome them.

People Don’t Understand Your Business

You tell people what you do, and they give you a blank stare. You try to give them more information, but after a time, they say something like, “That’s interesting…” and then they move on.

Since networking is about getting people interested in your business, you need to present it in a way people understand it. Do it in these ways.

Bring visual aids with you. A tablet is great for doing this because you can show them a short presentation or video. Not only will they be impressed by your tech savviness, but they will have a better idea of what you do.

Talk in layman’s terms. You may know what you’re talking about when you use technical jargon or acronyms only professionals in your industry know, but other people may not, which is what keeps them from understanding you. Tone it down a bit and give people just the basics about your business, so they can digest the information much easier.

 The Leads Don’t Lead Anywhere

Collecting leads is a major part of a networking event, but if you leave with leads that don’t go anywhere then you really haven’t maximized the potential of the event. You can collect better leads if you do the following.

Know your target. What types of people do you want to meet at the event? You need to know who will be the best people to contact afterwards to be able to collect the right leads.

Ask who people work for. Immediately, you will know if people are entrepreneurs or employees. This will help you know if you should spend more time investigating what they do to find out if they would be a good contact.

The Contacts Are Overwhelming

After you’ve mastered the art of collecting good leads from networking events, you could end up overwhelmed with the number of contacts you’ll have. You don’t want to lose them all because they are all important. To organize your contacts, do this:

Write notes on business cards. Stephanie Calahan, Business Vision Catalyst and founder of Calahan Solutions, Inc. recommends writing notes on business cards. These notes can be used later to help categorize contacts by key words.

Categorize contacts with key words. For every person you’ve contacted, come up with three words that describe him or her. These words act as groups you’ll use to place other people who have the same descriptive words. Once you have these groups, all you will have to do is categorize more people into them. When you need someone with one of those describing key words, you’ll know exactly where to go to find contact information.

Use technology for accessibility. Try to use a program that will sync between your phone, computer and tablet, so you can quickly organize contacts wherever you are, and be able to pull them up when you need them.  David K. Williams writes in a recent post on Forbes.com, Base uses powerful simplicity to make sure you never lose track of the conversation.

What networking challenges do you face? How do you overcome them? Let us know in the comments!

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What Not to Say at Networking Events

Networking EventsNetworking events are your chance to connect with people who can help you grow your business. People are there to speak with you about what you do and share a little of what they do. If they get a good vibe from you and you share that feeling for them, there’s a possibility the connections you make could lead to something great.

People can sometimes make big mistakes when speaking with others at networking events. These mistakes can ruin any chances that the people they speak to will ever want anything to do with them or their business. Before you head out to another networking event, be sure to pay attention to what you say. Never say the following statements and questions.

I need a job. Are you hiring?

A networking event is not a job fair. Yes, you may make connections that could lead to a position at a company you want to work at someday, but that shouldn’t be your main focus. Networking events are for people to learn about what others do for work and what projects they are working on.

I’m not really interested in discussing anything that has to do with that topic.

That statement will do one thing – burn a potential connection forever. You don’t have to be interested in everything everyone talks about, but what you do have to do is be respectful and hear people out. If you’re still not interested by the time the conversation is over, move on to other people you may connect with better. Just keep in mind, you never know what opportunities you may come across in the future, and that person discussing the topic you weren’t interested in might just be the one you’ll need to contact.

Buy my product or service!

No one wants to buy anything at a networking event. They only want to learn. If you’re too pushy, you may just end up pushing people away so far they will never buy anything from you. Let people know what you sell, and then if they seem interested in it, give them your contact information. This leaves the ball in their court, and they can come to you if they want to know more after the event.

Can I buy you a drink?

President of ProductCamp in Austin told Austin Business Journal that this question was the worst one to ask when you just meet someone at an event. We have to agree!

A networking event is not a spot to pick up dates. It’s not a place to find a job. It’s not where you need to be if you have an intention other than learning about other people’s businesses and connecting with them. When all you want to do is meet other business owners, you will likely not say any of the statements you’ve read here or ask any questions that will make people run the other way. You will end up using the networking event in the way it is intended, and end up leaving with a pocket full of contact cards that you can use to gather people together to help make great things happen.

Image courtesy of stockimages from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Networking Event

Networking Event

Networking events are a lot of fun, but they aren’t all about fun. It’s business. It’s a time to connect with people to find out how everyone can help one another. Leads come out of networking events, and a lot of knowledge is shared.

The success of a networking event depends on how well you work it. Luckily, you’ve found this post, so you’ll learn how to make your next networking event one of the best.

1. Give and Take

In a recent article on Mashable, 5 Steps to Mastering Tech Networking Events, author Justin Miller points out that networking isn’t all about you. Yes, you want to promote your business, but that’s not the only reason why you are there. You should want to learn about other people’s businesses too. You may be able to help those people as much as they are able to help you. People are more likely to help you when you are able to help them. Keep that in mind as you enter an event to keep yourself from becoming the all about me guy or girl.

2. Research the Event’s Attendees

Miller points out researching the event’s attendees is a wise idea, so you know what to expect and can prepare. Write down some of the people you’re most interested in speaking with, questions you want to ask, and then seek them out at the event. When you ask questions, you invite people to talk about themselves, which is what most love to do. It will also open the door for you to share what you know and how you can help them. This can lead to an exchange that may go outside of the event, which is exactly what you want to do.

3. Leave a Mark

At large networking events, you will easily meet 20 people. For every person you meet, you need to leave a lasting impression. You can do this simply by leaving something with them. A business card works, but if you think of something much more creative, you’ll stand out more. Miller says people should put their resumes on a USB. You could do that, but you could also put a portfolio on it. You can put a presentation on one. You can do a lot of things, and the more unique you are, the more successful the event will be for you.

4. Follow Up

Making the most out of a networking event doesn’t end when it’s over. After the event, it’s time for you to use the leads you’ve generated. Connect with people you’ve met by email or phone. Some people will respond to your follow up and some won’t, but it’s the people who do that will make your time worth it.

Networking events are important to the growth of your business, but they need to be used in a way that will make a difference. Consider the advice here before you attend your next event. It’s likely you’ll notice a difference right away and see how useful events can be to growing your business.

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Introvert’s Guide to Business Networking

In the business world, it can seem like everyone around you is an extrovert. They parade around smiling, introducing themselves to everyone, and have no problem carrying on a conversation with a complete stranger. Just watching people like this exhausts you.

You want to be a successful business owner though. To be one, you need to tell people what you sell. But when you don’t feel comfortable in social situations, it can seem impossible to get the message out.

It’s only impossible if you allow it to be that way. Introverts can network too.

Diane Gottsman from the Huffington Post’s business section recently published an article on this topic – Networking Tips for Introverts. She suggests introverts can be just as successful as extroverts simply by making a plan, focusing on strengths, scheduling down time, and creating opportunities. This may seem a bit overwhelming, so she suggests doing it all in small steps.

Gottsman’s suggestions are great ones to get introverts out into the business world, but let’s take it one step further.

Business Networking as an Introvert

 

Visualize, Plan, Proceed

Close your eyes and think about yourself in a business networking situation. What do you see yourself doing? Is what you are doing effective? If not, think about what you could do instead. Plan what would work better for you.

With this plan, you are ready to proceed. The next time you are networking, pay attention to yourself. If you find yourself isolating, go to your plan. By executing your plan, you will be more effective than you would have been if you continued to isolate.

Review, Revise, Renew

After networking, think about what happened. Were you able to make the connections you wanted to? If not, how would you do it differently next time? Write it down.

Before you head out to network again, read your review and revision. Keep your plan and revision in mind, and head out to make this networking situation even better than the last.

Repeat, Strive, Succeed

For every business networking situation you are in, review how it went, and then think about what you would like to do differently, and do it. What’s important is you continuously progress towards better and better networking.

Before you know it, you’ll feel more comfortable. While you’ll still need to give yourself time to recharge, by making a plan to network, you’ll finally be able to get out there and promote your business just like extroverts do all of the time.

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Calling All Networking Group Organizers!

Business Networking

As the organizer of a Networking Group, we know your top priorities are growing your membership and keeping your current members happy and engaged.  HuddleDo.com is the free platform that will help you achieve and maintain these critical benchmarks.

Does Your Networking Group Need:

  • Membership Growth?  Using huddledo.com, you or your members can find new local candidates that are ideal for your networking group, and then meet with them in-person, in groups of 2 or 3 (“Huddles”), to see if they are the right fit for your networking group.   They then can be invited to your group’s meetings.
  • To Retain and Attract New Members? Having “fresh faces” at meetings gives your membership the opportunity to continually meet new prospective referral partners (which makes them happy!)

Well, Then, We Should Team Up!

We Want You!  HuddleDo is looking to partner with leaders like you to help grow your networking group as well as help HuddleDo grow its user base.  We believe there is great synergy between HuddleDo and your group.

WIFM? (What’s in it for me?)

For a limited time only, we would like to offer your organization the following benefits:

  • Free Advertising on our site to help build awareness about your networking group.
  • Free Lifetime HuddleDo Membership for your members.

Your Networking Group featured on our Partner page with a link to your site.

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Give us 10 minutes of your time and we’ll have one of our teammates contact you to discuss the benefits of partnering with HuddleDo.  Send us an email: info@huddledo.com.

Business Networking Tips: “Don’t be that Guy!”

In this series, we’ll explore the 10 Commandments of Professional Business Networking.

First Commandment:

Thou shalt listen & be fully engaged in the person your speaking to.

Nothing is more frustrating than when while talking with someone at a networking event, the person in front of me is constantly looking around, presumably for something or someone better to network with.  It’s easy to spot: no eye contact, shoulder surfing, fidgeting and generally dis-interested.  Unfortunately, all too common, this is not only rude but can end up costing you a significant lost opportunity.  Let’s forget about rude for a moment; I’m a big boy.  I live in a big city and I deal with lots of rude people so that’s not a biggie for me.  What is important is this: when you are not focused, you’re not listening.  When you are not listening, you’re not asking questions.  When you’re not asking questions, you miss opportunities.  It’s that simple.  I might not be what you are looking for right then and there but you never know what my world of influence includes.

Listening is undoubtedly the most important skill when interacting with others but in reality, it’s probably the hardest to master.  Don’t worry because it’s normal to struggle with this skill especially considering everything thats going on at a networking event.  Everything is new; the venue, the people, the event structure and more.  Folks are coming and going and all the while, you are thinking about a ton of things.  “How do I appear to others?”,  “What do they think of me?” , “Where and who should I be spending my time with?”,  “What do I say?” and I’m sure a whole lot more is racing through your mind.

business-networking

The Networking Zone:

Here’s a tip I use to get myself into what I call “The Networking Zone”. When you first arrive, pick out 3 people you first see that you absolutely have to meet.  Make that your goal for the evening.  It may seem like a small goal but trust me, if you can genuinely connect with 3 people, then you’re doing great!  Use your gut and zero in on these 3 individuals.  Approach each person, one at a time, and introduce yourself.  Be genuine and most of all, be yourself.

Next, ask an open ended question.  For example, “How did you find out about this event?” or “What are you looking to get out of this event?”.  The key is to start gathering information you can later use to expand the conversation.  The common mistake is to ask questions that result in “yes” or “no” answers.  Asking open ended questions enables you to develop follow-up questions that push the conversation further and, more importantly, allows you to learn more about the person and what they are looking for.

You Go First:

Another key is to let them talk first.  How many times have you met someone and they begin by prattling on incessantly about themselves?  A lot I know.  Although this is how you get the information you need about the other person, don’t be that guy who dominates the conversation by going on about yourself first.  Let them talk.  You can also find out pretty quickly if they are a right fit for you and, if not, find a way to gracefully exit (another topic for a different post).  You won’t have to spend your valuable time sharing your background if you find out, up front, they aren’t a good fit.

Networking Position:

One of the most overlooked (and simple) skills in proper networking involves body language.  Novice networkers commonly break the basic rules of inter-personal communications.  No eye contact, bad posture, weak handshake, improper spacing (yes, you can be too close or too far from the other person) all play a role in how you are perceived by others.  Keep solid eye contact (without being creepy) and stand with confidence.  Make sure to deliver a solid handshake (this isn’t the time for a wrestling take-down) and keep proper spacing between you and the other person.  Referred to as social distance, in cases where you do not know the other person well a distance of 1.5 to 4 feet may feel more comfortable.  Maintaining proper networking position is an excellent, non-verbal way to demonstrate confidence, strength and a positive self image that leaves a lasting impression on those we meet.

So in summary, when you are engaged with another person during a networking event, you should consider the following:

  1. Listen Well
  2. Ask Open Ended Questions
  3. Ask Follow-Up Questions
  4. Let Them Go First
  5. Keep Eye Contact
  6. Maintain Proper Spacing

In short, don’t be that guy!  Be fully engaged and if you are fully present, these things will happen naturally.