Developing your Networking Skills
Just because you have an AMAZING IDEA and want to share it with the world – does not mean that you are good at networking (or even that you want to). At a recent networking event specifically for Entrepreneurs I met a variety of other entrepreneurs with very different experiences in networking (and consequently very different networking goals).
The easiest way to develop your skills is to get out there and practice networking. Practice your Elevator Pitch, write your own story, raise awareness and stick to your networking goals (or strategy) so you can see a tangible (and measurable) result from your efforts.
What are your Networking Goals?
At the moment I am in the idea, approaching start-up stage. At the moment my networking goals are:
- telling my story and raising awareness;
- looking for talented partners to help on ideas outside my skill set – for example in film-making and animation.
Every time you go to a networking event you should have a goal.
Some people wear their heart (and their networking goals) on their sleeve. There is something authentic and honest about these people and if possible I always try to think of ways to help them (either at the event or as part of the follow-up).
By way of example the Networking Goals that I saw in the first few people I spoke to were:
- People who attended the event to enjoy the keynote speaker, learn something new and meet new people;
- Newbies who attended the even to try out an entrepreneurial networking event (many of which had not been to one before);
- Regulars. I often think regulars attend simply because they enjoy the event. They do not always have an obvious goal (showing externally). As a “Regular” there is a danger that you lose sight of your networking goals and miss out on opportunities.
- People look for a specific contact. e.g. A new member of their team, a contact for a specific job, a business partner.
What are your networking goals? Before you attend your next networking event – make sure you write a few down. Who would you like to meet? Why?