I hate going networking!

by David Wimblett on December 19, 2012 · 1 comment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is something I hear pretty often and I heard it again this week, at the networking skills workshop that I was providing; so I guess no real surprise there.  The person knew that networking was good for their business but they hated it.

Now there are different reasons why people don’t like networking, so I asked the person concerned what their biggest fear was.  Their answer was – what it is in most cases, the biggest hurdle to those new to networking – who to talk to and what to say.

The answer to both is in fact very simple; it’s just that people like to over complicate things.  Especially in their own minds.  And I was just the same when I first started to network.  Give me a glass of wine and a plateful of food and I was more than happy.  Particularly if I didn’t have to speak to anyone!  But of course it’s hard to start a relationship with someone without speaking; I had to get over my fear.

And that is a big point.  What to say?  The problem with networking is that most people are there to sell, so that’s what they think they need to talk about. The trouble is is that very few people go networking to buy.  So, there is a major in-balance of expectation, of outcome.  Therefore, if you forget about selling, and instead concentrate on building a relationship, it’s far easier to have conversations.  You can take an interest in the person you are talking to and, if you get on, you will arrange to met again.

But, who to talk to?  Now that is easy!  Anyone standing on their own.  Most likely they will be feeling just like you, if not worse, and they will love the fact that you came over to talk to them.   And your opening line?  How about, “Hi”?  Or, “Are you like me? First time here”.  Maybe, “New to networking?” I’ve even used, “It’s not as bad as you think”.

Their answer will feed you with what to say next.  Just remember: you’re not selling.  Have fun, relax and enjoy, and you will soon start to build some great relationships.  The business will follow.

David Wimblett
David Wimblett – author, business success mentor and BNI Area Director for London North West. Director of 7 Training who offer so much more than just theory.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Colin Spicer December 19, 2012 at 11:43

One thing that most networkers fail to do is listen! It’s a hackneyed phrase but oh so important; you have two ears and one mouth. Use them in the same ratio. To do so also makes networking so much easier. Ask a few open questions and you’re off…!

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