“If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there.” – Robert Kiyosaki
Do you attend networking events with people who are at the same level as yourself?
Are you a connector or a presenter when you are out networking?
Often people attend networking events with people who look and think like themselves. However, in business, success is available when you are willing to step beyond your comfort zone and find the places and spaces where your clients or people of influence hang out.
What is “Networking Up”?
Brent defines Networking Up as “building a connection with people to whom you didn’t have a connection with before, for a specific purpose, either now or in the future. And they are somewhere where you endeavor to be.”
Connecting in a meaningful and memorable way with business leaders who are at a higher level of success can potentially change everything for your business. One relationship can potentially give you exposure to new ideas, experiences as well as a new network of influencers.
Here are Brent’s 3 simple suggestions for “Networking Up”:
1- Be Prepared & Purposeful!
Regardless of the networking activity, it is essential to go with a clear intention and strategy. Here are a few recommendations when preparing for a networking event:
- Researching the group or the individuals who will be attending the event. This will assist you when making connections and creating dialogue.
- A successful networking event begins at home. Even if you are nervous about attending the event, it is vital that you are comfortable in your skin and that you have a winning attitude and mindset.
- Let’s face it, networking up will require you to go places and connect with people you would not otherwise meet and this may create some discomfort. It is important to learn to shift your nervous energy to one of excitement. This can be accomplished by simply choosing to tell yourself you are excited to meet a new group of successful people. Have fun with it!
- Your dress, grooming and hygiene can be a game-changer. Present yourself in a manner that is appropriate for the event yet is comfortable and reflects your unique style and personality.
2- Be of Service – Add Value!
Arrive early; this is your opportunity to connect with the event organizer and support staff. This could include the bartender, the event planner and even the coat check person. Offer to assist with set up, inquire about the bartender’s favorite drink. The goal is to connect with the individuals running the event before other guests arrive. Establishing a connection with the people running the event will allow you to feel comfortable and appear to already know other people at the event.
When you choose to serve and add value, you will likely be remembered. As you connect with people at the event, listen for ways you can genuinely serve. Your goal when networking is to stand out from the crowd and offering to serve, rather than sell, is a great way to do this. Brent refers to this as your “Unique Value Add.”
3- Be a Connector, Not a Presenter!
A connector listens and is interested in the person they are speaking with. A presenter is often the talker. The sole purpose of their conversation is to let you know what they do and what they have to offer. Your goal is to become a masterful connector who can leave a conversation having learned about a person’s goals, needs, aspirations, challenges and interests.
The whole basis of Networking Up is to build lasting relationships with individuals who are where you endeavor to be. The fact is, people, do business with those they know, like and trust. Your responsibility is to become that person. Seek to develop relationships based on shared interests and goals, carefully nurtured over time. When you master the art of connecting, you will have also uncovered one of the secrets to building a lasting successful business.
The challenge this week is to ‘Network Up.’ WHO is that business leader or entrepreneur that most INSPIRES you? Use these 3 tips to begin to Network Up!