In the last eighteen months, we have shifted to virtual networking and currently we are having some in-person networking. This week we revisit this topic as we start to attend social events while practicing social distance.
As a business networker, this is one of the self-rewarding activities I really enjoy. Meeting people, some for the first time and others on a regular basis, provides the opportunity to get to know each person’ story. Ask for their story when you meet. Listen. Share your story afterwards. I would like to share a couple of names I have been called when talking about the subject of making connections.
Connecting people together and making introductions to spark a good discussion leads to creative ideas and opportunities for everyone. Watching the energy level between like-minded people you just connected is the reward. Introducing them to others is a special talent. There is a concept called triad relationships. You know two people who do not know each other. You connect them. You encourage both to share their own story as you smile and create the next triad relationship. Repeat the process with two others. Repeat. This is where you can pick up the nickname “The Connector”.
When we are networking at events, we tend to stay with people we know. I have always enjoyed walking up to someone who does not know many and introduce myself. Then I introduce them to others. When I notice others standing alone, I walk up to them, introduce myself and ask them their name and for their story. Then I introduce them to others and nudge them into telling sharing their story. It takes very little effort to be aware of those not comfortable approaching a group. By making this effort, it goes a long way for those who find it difficult to make new connections.
During this challenging time, Wednesday Wisdom was born in January 2021 as a weekly virtual networking event to help others stay connected. We had our first in-person event in August and second one in September with good turnouts at both! We will continue monthly in-person events the first Wednesday of the month to connect, share our stories and wisdom.
THE NETWORKING KING
Thanks to the “Networking Queen” Theresa Reaume for calling me the “Networking King”. Here is Theresa’ take on making connections: “Networking is not about selling, networking is about helping others”. There are many great networkers and humbled to be called this. Many of us enjoy attending numerous events, meeting people, connecting people and creating opportunities for them. It does not have to be about selling our products/services/company. Make the connection, help others make new connections and build the relationships. Business may or may not happen later.
Write this on a rock: Build relationships first. Sell later.
Mentoring others has become a passionate thing I enjoy doing. Working with young entrepreneurs to create their start-ups, working with established professionals looking to pursue their dreams by starting a company and working with other professionals who want to have open, candid discussions to help them build a better business have been great experiences for me. I have had mentors and coaches along the way and thank them for being part of my journey.
If you have not mentored anyone or have never had a mentor for yourself, I recommend you try it. Be open, vulnerable and find that person you can trust who will not judge you or sugar-coat things. Do the same when you are mentoring. I have enjoyed working with WEtech Alliance, EPICentre, University of Windsor, St. Clair College and my own connections I have mentored.
You can help your clients and prospects alike as well as your friends, family and associates. When they need something or want to meet someone, step up and make the introduction for them. This open doors for them and helps you build a stronger relationship with both parties. Sometimes you may have to refer a competitor who offers something you do not and that is okay. When the competition sends you referrals back, that is a huge compliment. Remember to thank everyone who makes an introduction or sends you a referral, even if the connection does not work out.
Building your circles is what this blog is all about. What else can we do to help each other? If we take time to invest in making new connections and helping others make new connections we will find we continue to grow as leaders. This strengthens our position as the expert on the subject matter.
What are you doing to connect people?