The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity. ~Keith Ferrazzi
With the season of key industry events underway, such as SxSW for example, and local events perhaps being a constant in your business-building life, many of you are attending with an agenda not just of learning the latest tools and tactics and perhaps hoping to meet an idol or two for a photo-op but also with the intent of indulging in some prime business networking.
But, before you go, I encourage you to stop thinking of all business events you attend as “networking opportunities” and, instead, start thinking of them as opportunities to help people.
When you focus on how you can truly be of service in advancing the goals of another, you become a giver, not a taker. That alone will make you more memorable than any witty banter or pitch you might be able to call forth in the moment.
Changing your mindset from self-promotional to one of selfless service affirms your belief in the abundance of the universe and the principles of karma. The more you spread this around, the more that will (in time) come back to you. Not necessarily from the same source, mind you, so forget about score-keeping.
How to network at business events
Rather, when attending future business events, look to identify those for whom you can provide a genuine benefit, a timely and profitable (for them) introduction, and/or a helping hand relevant to the recipient’s agenda and objectives. Don’t be afraid to refer the services, courses and programs of others. You will not be perceived as “less” for doing so; you will be seen as giving even more while building a constant source of relationships with future referral potential.
Everyone you meet has challenges and pain points. Use the time you have to get to know people and to better understand their businesses. Keep them in mind with future follow-up interactions wherein you share information that can help them, refer business to them and, where and when appropriate offer words of support and encouragement. We are all in this together and I assure you there is plenty of work out there for every one of us.
So forget about attending business events and conferences with a selfish objective of generating business and growing revenue. Instead, go with the aim to better understand and help others succeed in their business-building efforts, not yours. (And never expect or ask for reciprocation. Karma doesn’t work that way.)
Today’s message bears repeating: stop networking and start helping!
Even if you do it anonymously and without any form of compensation (which is how I do it). I guarantee you business will follow if only you can discipline yourself to stop chasing it.
More next time. Until then, remember to LOVE YOUR WORK, whatever it may be.
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