Networking can be awkward. I’ve struggled with being great at it and actually made a New Year’s resolution this year to get out and meet more people in person. Real living, breathing humans.
I’ve been doing this by going to networking meetups and hosting my own events monthly, and you know what? It’s working out great!
I’ve met so many successful, inspiring and interesting people since the start of 2018 and I highly recommend anyone who wants to grow in their business or career get out there and network too.
But not in the stuffy old school way! Here’s what I mean…
I recently met a couple rock-star networkers and as my relationship with them has been developing I’ve been able to watch them up close and in action and they are gifted!
I started to wonder about one of these woman in particular. She’s a young professional, in her early twenties and she already understands concepts about relationships and business that took me over a decade to learn. I couldn't help but notice how effortlessly she makes people feel heard, supports other women’s businesses and careers and has a knack for connecting people to one another in a way that’s beneficial to all.
She’s a rockstar networker.
I thought about the success I’ve had networking since the start of 2018 and the lessons I’ve learned from some of these rockstar networkers I’ve met so I thought I’d share with you some of the less traditional ways you can network like a pro and make meaningful connections that will truly help you advance in your business or career.
1 - Be Vulnerable and Authentic
Networking is about creating relationships that are mutually beneficial. There really is no point in connecting with someone on false pretenses or in a way that is not authentic. That won’t benefit you or them.
Share personal things about yourself with those that you meet. Let people know why you’re there. What your goals for attending the event or meeting them for coffee really are. If things are tough right now and you could use some help in your business or career let people know what kind of help you’re looking for, and what they can do to support.
Being your true authentic self will help you cultivate authentic relationships. Being vulnerable will let people know you’re a real person and interested in a real relationship, not just another business card to add to the pile.
2 - Be fun
Rockstar networkers have fun at networking events! Seriously! They know how to make the most of any situation. They understand that the host or organizer of the event wants people to have a good time at their event, so they jump right in and help make that happen.
If you want to up your networking game make sure to be “all in” and ready to have fun at the next event you go to. That’s as simple as participating in the activities that are going on, making conversation with the other people there, and just being relaxed and easy going.
3 - Include Others
Being a great networker is not just about meeting new people, it’s about bringing people together. If you want to get to know more influential people that could potentially impact your business or career you should consider introducing them to other people that may be able to impact their business or career.
What I’m trying to say is great networkers give more then they take.
If you want to be a rockstar networker, then find some other rockstar colleagues and bring them along for the ride. Or connect them directly with those that you meet. Finding other people that are able to contribute in an authentic way is a win-win for everyone.
4 - Be Thoughtful
I hosted a workshop this past weekend. After the workshop there was an hour (that turned into 2) of networking. The socializing was the best part of the event! Networking with other like minded women and learning more about them was inspiring to me and got me thinking about how I can help them and who I can connect some of them with in the future.
One of the rockstar networkers I mentioned was thoughtful enough to take some photos of the event with the beautiful winery in the background. She sent them to me the next day. I was so thankful that she did that. I never had time to soak in the pretty scenery or even all the gorgeous women enjoying wine and chatting with one another, and I was so glad to see those photos.
That’s what I mean about being thoughtful.
Thinking of things that others may not have thought of, or making small considerate gestures to those you know on a professional level quickly takes that relationship from professional to personal and keeps you top of mind when someone wants to return the favor.
The bottom line is this… If you want to get better at networking you can read a thousand articles about having a great elevator pitch, the proper usage of your business card, following up the next day, or scheduling coffee meetups 2 weeks out.
But if you want to truly be memorable and learn how to be a rockstar networker then I suggest you start with the four less obvious ways I outlined above. I promise that’s the golden ticket to meaningful connections that feel good for you and the people you are about to meet :)
Happy Networking and Thank you for Reading!