It's true. Many people hate to network.
They know the old saying "People Do Business With People They Know and Like", and they believe it is true. But they still wince at the thought of going to conferences, seminars and networking events and having to make small talk with other people.
But the smart ones do it anyway.
You are not reading this blog because you necessarily like to network and getting past that awkward stage of getting to know those you meet. You might even feel that you know enough people.
You are reading this because you know that you need to improve you networking skills. (or you were searching for something else and Google accidently pointed you to this blog!!!)
So what can you do to start networking if you really do not want to?
1. Do it anyway. Regardless of if you like networking events, get out and attend business and industry events anyway. If you stay in your office like a hermit, you are guaranteed NOT to have a network. Out of sight is out of mind. In the business world that means out of business.
2. Be interested in others. Remember that you are there to make first connections with people. You will not become best friends or sign a new client at the Chamber of Commerce "After Hours Cocktail Mixer". You goal is simply to meet people in the business community. Be interested in others and ask a lot of questions. Get their business card and after you leave the event, write some notes on the back of the card to remind you of what you talked about (do not take notes in front of people!!!).
3. Finally, Follow-Up!!! Meeting someone does not make them part of your network. Building real relationships takes time. Call, email ....or better yet, send a handwritten note to them a few days later and tell them that you enjoyed meeting them. You wont follow up with everyone you meet, but if you think that in the long run you could do business together or be mutual referral sources, then should plan for the next step. Lunch or coffee is always good.
Does it sound a little bit like dating? (Maybe that is why people hate networking so much!!!!). The principles are the same. You have to go meet a lot of people to find those few that will be a permanent part of your business network. But a good network of professional contacts who will refer business will make you more successful.....so just do it.
Have fun, even if you secretly hate networking!!!
Have A Great Day.