Buddy Up

Networking is scary. Period. I don’t care how often you do it or how long you’ve been doing it. For majority of us, it can just be scary. Yes, I’m including myself. Believe it or not, networking in a new crowd is very nerve-racking for me. I have been known to find every excuse in the books to avoid a new networking function. Shame on me! Think of the opportunities I missed.

How to avoid this? Today’s Tip; Buddy Up

That’s right, take a friend, colleague, co-worker or even better…take someone you don’t even know! (I’ll explain that more later)

Buddy #1, Your Friend
Its really that easy. Find a networking buddy and tackle new events together. They don’t have to be in the same industry as you, or from your same office, just someone who should be out doing the same type of networking as you do. This also helps with accountability. Its hard to bail on an event when you know someone is meeting you there. Make sure you don’t isolate yourselves though, its usually best, once you’re comfortable to part ways and meet back up at the end.

Buddy #2, Chamber Ambassadors
These people LOVE to network and love to help you network. So when you go to an event, find an ambassador right away and buddy up with them. I promise they won’t mind, and they usually know everyone in the room!

Buddy #3, Someone You Don’t Even Know
This one does take a little groundwork ahead of time, but works great. Find out who’s registered to go to the event, or find out who is a member and most likely going to the event. Its best if it is someone you could be a referral partner with. Reach out to them and mention that you’ve been meaning to connect with them and ask if they will join you at the next event. OR if you dare . . . Find a connection on LinkedIN that you really need to connect with and invite them to attend with you. You’ll be showing them that you are a motivated, involved and connected person.

Networking Buddies are great also because if you do it right, they will introduce you to folks they know and vice versa. Just don’t forget to spread your wings a little and sit, stand, gather with people you don’t know.

My last word of wisdom on buddies: drive separate. If you are making a great new connection and your buddy has to leave, you don’t want to have to cut that convo short. Especially at evening events. I often find myself nervous to attend but one of the last to leave because of all the great new connections I’m making.

So Buddy Up, and Show Up. Happy Networking!

 

 

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Buddy Up

The Quiet Girl in the Corner

So here’s my quick story…

I’m a middle child. Got away with most everything growing up as most middle children do. Was a little rebel. Could easily hide in the shadows. Graduated high school early once I realized I could make money eight hours a day instead of going to school.  I married and divorced my high school sweetheart.

Tried college; hated it. Loved working; didn’t always love my job. It took me several years and many experiences to realize I was not the type of person to sit behind a desk 40 hours a week.

After a graphic design degree and several failed attempts at making money doing “my own thing”, I found myself as The Quiet Girl in the Corner at every networking event. Little did I know, I would soon find myself making a living by networking.

It started with a membership to a weekly referral group. If you know anything about TIPS groups, you know that the leader of the group is usually the sap the missed the meeting when they voted and guess what, you got voted president! Not me. 4 months in, I stepped up and started my own chapter because I’m a little controlling and wanted nothing but the best for my members.

One thing led to another and I found myself volunteering so much for the local chamber that they hired me as an assistant and if you’ve ever worked for a chamber before, you know that “10” hours a week really means 30. And before I knew it I was working almost 40 hours a week for the chamber and also helping spearhead a new referral group organization. I went from a quiet member in a TIPS group, to be the chapter president to running the entire Nebraska and Iowa regions and overseeing 600+ members!

I’ve been called a ‘Networking Junkie’, The ‘It Girl’, ‘Networking Guru’ and most famously ‘Networking Whore’. And I wear all those titles proudly. Most people are surprised to hear I truly was the quiet girl in the corner not too many years ago.

But honestly, its the relationships I have built that have made me successful in whatever I am doing. I have always prided myself on being the person you can call for anything. Need a plumber? A realtor? An attorney? A security system? A job reference? Call me! I want people to feel comfortable coming to me for all their needs for 2 reasons; 1. So when they do need my services we already have a warm relationship and 2. I now know I can go them for any of my needs

So why this blog? I get asked a lot to help coach sales professionals in the world of networking. I love it. So as I do that one on one, I thought I would digitally share my words of wisdom to anyone that happens upon them.

So thanks for following. I hope you learn a tip or two. I’d love your feedback and to hear your stories about networking successes and failures (don’t worry, we all have them).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Quiet Girl in the Corner

Stop Networking.

“Stop Networking”, pretty weird advise coming from the Networking Wiz. But today, those are my words of wisdom. Now, before you roll your eyes too much, let me explain.

Have you ever found yourself at another networking event and wandering aimlessly, or maybe even sitting in your car trying to pump yourself up to go inside your 4th event of the week? I’ve even found myself thinking “if I have to explain what I do to one more person…”. That’s not the attitude you want when networking.

I think at times we try to hit every networking event we can. We don’t want to miss someone or something, or we want to make sure we are seen, or we even like having the excuse to not be in the office. But once you hit networking overload, you’re wasting your time. And believe it or not, others can see that in you. Your smile will be forced, your conversations less genuine and your results will be unimpressive. Its a waste of time.

(and I promise you…if you miss anything that important, you’ll hear about it, there will be pictures, or video and best yet…it will give you a really good excuse to reach out personally to those involved)

So stop networking. Avoid burn out. Set your weekly goals; say 2 events a week, add in an extra 1 or 2 as they pop up, and then stop. Rearrange and prioritize as needed. Overloading your schedule may make you look busy but its the results that truly matter.

Stop Networking.