Cheesy cocktail hours. Random LinkedIn messages. A hardy handshake. “Pitching” yourself to big wigs.
When I networked this way, I had a dead-end desk job, and drinking buddies.
It was when I started diving into entrepreneurship, and realized that there are real people living a dream life, I changed my approach to networking.
Now, I have a thriving business, I work with ideal clients, and my badass friends are constantly inviting me to grow!
What were the shifts?
First, I had to stop reciting my elevator speech, and start asking other people questions. NETWORKING IS NOT ABOUT YOU.
When I started to approach people with curiosity, I found that I was much less stressed about networking, and I actually enjoyed networking. Conversations centered around utopias, morning rituals, recent travels, and personal missions, instead of cubicle pet-peeves and how to apply for jobs.
It was obvious that BEING A REAL PERSON was much more effective, than being the “confident”, “professional”, “put-together” persona I was taught to bring to networking events. When I was honest, and took a genuine interest in other people, I had dates, business partners, students, and even CEOs lining up!
This is when I realized that networking is a 360 DEGREE GAME. Making the right connections is not just about reaching out to the highly successful people. There are amazing connections to be made all around. I became interested in people from my past and future. People at the same level as me, and college students taking the classes I did 3 years ago. People in industries like mine, and people in completely different types of work. Once you realize the potential that exists in the connections you already have, you are well on your way to making any dream work. (Check out my free worksheet for how to identify those people here!)
One secret of networking that is a bit “old fashioned”, is that you do need to FOLLOW UP! Just getting another Instagram follower, or a new phone number does not equate a meaningful relationship. Whether you like to follow-up and befriend online or off line, it’s still necessary in the game of networking to make several genuine contacts with people. (Get the step by step strategy and templates for exactly what to say here!)
The last secret I discovered in successful networking is that no one is doing ANYTHING alone. Any business, blog post, cupcake, marriage, and spark of inspiration comes from the efforts of many people.
Even when you have an idea of how to approach new relationships, and you follow up on great conversations, you need to have a strategy for
ACTION: Work with a mentor or coach. They can be in your field, totally different than you, as long as you RESPECT and CONNECT with them. Find someone you can honestly bounce ideas off of, share experiences, and get unbiased feedback and support to make your dreams work. Watch how the accountability and encouragement you receive from that person multiplies your ability to impact and connect with your dream team.
When you help enough other people get what they want, you will get what you want.
- Seek to add value to other people’s lives.
- Stay engaged with the people you meet, create relationships, follow up with them.
- Be a real person. Memorable, curious, and genuine.
- Look all around for opportunities to connect.
- Have a mentor, always.
Originally published at www.dreamlifeisreallife.com