I love a good stat so when I got thinking about my networking experiences over the last 12 months, I took to google to do some research. Marketing Expertus had some interesting Networking statistics (2019-2020).
The 3 that stood out for me were:
68% of professionals value face-to-face networking more than online – not me! How about you?
56% of networking is done face-to-face – more like 100% in the last year.
Only 25% of people actually network – can’t wait to see what the 2020/21 results are.
For me networking was very much something I did the in the early years of setting up my business. Why? Because I needed clients. I am now almost 10 years into my business and found myself towards the end of 2020 looking to network. Why? Because it was so much easier to do it online.
For starters it:
- saves time
- saves traveling
- saves money
However, the main reason that I decided to start networking again was the personal commitment I made to myself in December 2020. That commitment was to be more visible in 2021. The first quarter of 2021 has just finished, and I can proudly report that I have stuck to my commitment.
I have attended 10 different networks in 3 months more than once.
I have attended more than 50 networking meet ups.
I have committed to 2 regular networks (both very different).
I have made great connections and really had some fun along the way.
I have found 1 network that I can really see myself committing to long term and still on the lookout for one other.
For me, I would ideally like 2 networking groups I wholeheartedly commit to and a couple I can dip in and out of. It feels like dating, finding the right match for not only me but my business too.
During my mission, I have made some observations.
- People are keen to speak first.
- People have very little focus when they talk about their business.
- People lack clarity when talking about what people can buy from them.
- People are not intentional in their approach.
- People are not overly helpful.
My observations were key in helping me to identify some top tips to help make networking more worthwhile.
I am sure you have been in the situation where everyone is super keen to pitch up and speak first and no one wants to be left to last (in case the time runs out).
However, I actually like going last. It gives me time to LISTEN, really listen to what everyone else has to share, learn what they do and gives me time to formulate what I then want to share in response to what I have heard. It really is magic – give it a try at your next meeting.
Focus on your what you do and how you help people. Don’t focus on repeating the same old elevator pitch at each and every meeting.
This is a sure-fire way to switch people off. You very quickly become boring and known for the same old patter. Instead, pick something to talk about and focus on that. Why not talk about your latest blog and tie it into what you do, this will generate interest and make you memorable. Do something out of the norm, don’t be a sheep and do what everyone else does at networking.
Be clear on what and how people can buy from you. Talk about a client you have recently worked with. Explain what they bought, why they bought it and either the outcome or how they bought it, maybe it is an online course or in-person 121 session. The clearer you can be, the easier it is for people to decide if they want to work with you or if they know anyone who would be a good fit for you as a client.
Being direct does have to come across as rude or aggressive. I hear this a lot from people. Being direct can and is in service of who you are speaking with. The more direct you can be the better for everyone. Being direct is simply being straightforward, getting to the point. Take your usual “pitch” and challenge yourself to say it in 5 words or less. The more direct you are the more time you must share something of interest and/or value.
How can you help. I always ask that at all networking groups and so often the other person (if we are in a 121) can often be quite thrown by the question. For me it is a natural ask. How about you? Do you ask how you can help other people? I mean do you intentionally ask the question?
I would love to hear your favourite networks and why you like them. If you would like to hear some suggestions from me, drop me an email or book in a call and we can chat all things networking.
Book in a call here.