There can sometimes be a lot of fear around networking because people worry that they’re not making the right impression or they’re coming across as disingenuous.
However, it’s no different than hanging out with your friends and the people closest to you. It’s simply learning how to apply your natural communication skills in a business setting. Shared below are some quick, how-to tips that will help you mingle in an authentic way, so you can grow your business starting today.
Here Are 5 Ways to Mingle and Network Authentically:
Talk Like You’re Talking to Your Best Friend
How do you talk to your best friend when you first met them? Did you chat freely and easily about the things you had in common? Of course, you did! That’s part of why you’re such good friends – you had common ground that connected you to each other.
Networking is the same thing. Talk to people like you’d talk to your best friend about the things you’re passionate about and you’ll find like-minded connections.
Ask About the Other Person
We can all get caught up in talking too much about ourselves because we get nervous that we’ll miss an opportunity, so we pump out as much helpful information as possible to show that person we have value. Networking is more subtle than that.
Think of networking like going on a first date, would you want to date the person that only talks about themselves and makes no effort to get to know you? On the flip side, would you want to date the person that drilled you for questions and wasn’t forthcoming with what they were all about? Networking is just having a balanced conversation.
See How You Can Provide Value
Great networking is all about offering value and providing solutions without strings. You have so much knowledge in your field that can help people, and there’s a way to share that knowledge to authentically attract people to working with you or learning more about you.
Don’t worry, there’s no such thing as “too much free information” because there will never be a replacement for your skills and expertise that someone needs to pay for. Networking works best when you can easily share knowledge and exchange information, just like you would with your sister or brother, so people have a memory of “Hey! That person really helped me. I like them!”
Be Comfortable Saying No and Yes
Not all people you network with will be great fits for helping you have strong connections that can bring you possible leads for your services and products. That’s ok! Not everyone needs to be the best fit, so it’s ok to say “No thanks” to people that ask you to go to meetings that are outside your boundaries or require an investment that you’re not comfortable making.
It\’s ok to say “No” and it’s ok to say “Yes” when it comes to choosing who you want to share your experience with and who you want to spend time with. Your time is precious and valuable!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for the Next Step
The simplest way to bring in more clients and money in your business is going from networking to making an offer. This way of marketing is authentic, simple, and guaranteed to help you stand out from everyone else. When you’re on a call with someone and you know that without a shadow of a doubt that working together would be a great fit, tell them that and then ask them if they’d like to learn more about what that would look like.
They’ll say “Yes” or “No” and then you’ll go from there. No matter their answer, you’ll have spent time getting to know another person who you really like and share values with. They may become your best client or referral source, you never know!
When you practice starting conversations with like-minded and interesting people by being yourself, you’ll find that networking is no longer scary or confusing. Don’t be in a rush to pitch people and get them to do something for you. Show up with the intention of sharing your story, knowledge, and expertise to build a connection, and then, when it feels right, offer your services and products. That’s all there is to it!
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