Simple Solution If You Hate Networking And Want To Make It Work
Not long ago I hated networking.
I was a member of two networking organizations in Tucson. I’d put their events on my calendar, but NEVER really wanted to attend. I’d usually found a good excuse to stay home instead.
And the times I did force myself to go, I would feel awkward and uncomfortable and find myself judging the event and the people there as “not the kind of people I want as clients,” “this organization is all wrong for me,” and “networking’s a waste of time.”
I’d go home feeling discouraged, thinking I’d just wasted my time and money (but deep down fearing there was something wrong with me).
UGH! It was super painful.
Can you relate???
(Let’s face it – no one ever teaches us how to network!)
That’s the painful place I was when I stumbled upon the simple, easy and fun solution.
Watch the video to learn what I did (that I KNOW can work for you too.)
On the way to a networking evening, where I was giving a 7 minute spotlight talk, I got the idea of greeting everyone I met in a friendly way (assuming they’d respond positively to my friendliness) and shine the light of my attention on them.
The first few women arrived and I went over to their table, sat down and started talking to them.
Of course, we exchanged “What do you do’s?”
But then I asked them questions about their work and learned a lot about what was challenging them. I’m naturally curious, love listening and helping people go deeper in their understanding of their life and situation.
So this was easy and fun for me – and created MUCH more fulfilling conversations (for both of us) than anything I’d done before at networking events.
I call what I did “Being the Walmart Greeter.”
Even though that’s way more shallow than what I actually did, and recommend you do.
What role is this? It’s The role of the host, hostess or greater. The person who makes everyone feel welcome.
That’s why I think of this as the Walmart Greeter Role.
And the reason I say you’ve played this role before is because it’s the natural role we play when we welcome visitors to our home.
Often groups assign someone the specific function of being the greeter at an event, but you don’t have to be formally that assigned role in order to play it. You can just take it on yourself.
What does the Walmart Greeter do?
Greet people, of course! Make people feel welcome, special, appreciated.
So at the networking function, make a meaningful connection with each person you meet. Focus on quality over quantity.
How do you do that? Well, introduce yourself, of course, with a firm handshake, a smile and a warm look in the other’s eyes.
Ask them what they do and tell them what you do. That’s a great start
Then ask them something else about their business or life.
This does NOT have to be related to your business.
An easy way to start is to ask them something that relates to why they’re at the gathering you’re both at.
Here are some examples of things you can ask:
- What brings you here?
- What are you most hoping to get from this gathering?
- What’s something challenging you in your business right now?
- What something you really proud of in your business?
- What kind of help would make the biggest difference to you now?
When you speak to them about something they truly care about, you go beneath the chit chat surface and they naturally like you and trust you more.
And, they ‘re more likely to remember you , refer you to others, and some day, possibly hire you!
Now, unless you’re the speaker, in front of the room, it usually takes more than one exposure for someone to fully remember you and be ready to refer you or hire you.
So, don’t expect to get a host of new clients from playing the Walmart Greeter at one networking function.
That’s why, in addition to putting on your Walmart Greeter hat, you’ll also want to do 2 additional things:
1. Take a volunteer position in the group – so you show up, help out and get known (while playing the Walmart Greeter, of course -whether assigned to do that or not)
2. Do whatever you can to become a speaker, in front of the whole group, because when you are, you are immediately seen as a trusted authority.
But for now, assign yourself the job of being the Walmart Greeter at every networking function you attend.
Having a specific job to do will help you relax, enjoy yourself and make others feel great.
This will help YOU walk away feeling confident and pleased, instead of insecure and disappointed (like I was so often).
Here’s my BOLD promise! When you use the simple technique you’ve just learned, you will know how to network like a pro!
Here’s your task
1. Share with us below what has been the most uncomfortable thing about networking for you.
2. Let us know what networking function you are putting on your calendar
3. Share what you like most about taking on the role of being the Walmart Greeter.
Shine Your Light!