Starting your own business opens up a whole world of do’s, and more do’s – courses that would be useful, lists of reading materials you should read, promotional chores on your ‘to do’ list, social media sites you should join, AND the numerous networking meetings you should attend!
The question comes to mind – ‘When do I actually work on my business?’
Networking seems to have a lot of strange rules; each group performs very different meeting rituals and the required preparation for each meeting can take up your whole week, to get just right! No wonder you’re left feeling ‘like a fish out of water’ with ‘butterflies in your stomach’, and definitely ‘shaking in your boots’, as you approach the door and enter the room for the first time!
So what is the magical formula for enhancing your networking performance? How should you behave? and above all what should you say? And before all that which networking group should you choose to attend?
My advice would always be, speak to your friends and business colleagues, talk to as many people as possible, related to your business, and find out what’s going on in your local area. Don’t travel off to random meeting rooms in random hotels on far flung motorways, start closer to home!
Make networking work for you, it should be convenient and fit in with your schedule and it should be fun and relaxing – you should feel like you fit in when you get there!
No, it shouldn’t be painful and hair raising! It should be helpful and you should make connections with other people just like you.
Last of all, you should accept you will be nervous, even if you are the most confident person in town! Give yourself the gift of preparation to help calm your nerves; go back to the drawing board and remind yourself of what you are doing, who you are doing it for and how you do business.
If you haven’t given it much thought, now is the time to define your own personal Brand and make those initial introductions easy and stress-free!
Tiny Tips that make sense:
Be yourself; keep it simple and keep your message clear!
Plan your introduction – Don’t tell everything about yourself - focus on key elements of your business.
Don’t apologise – Speak slowly and … Breath.
Pause before you mention your name and business name for the first time.
Tell a story and engage your audience!
Tell everyone what makes your customers happy and what you love about what you do. Show your passion, people respond to emotions more than to slick words!
Smile and enjoy meeting new interesting people who are willing to help you develop your business