Last week on the blog we talked about the importance of using your network to help you move your idea from Point A to Point B. A good idea and excitement to see if through to completion are important, but a network of engaged supporters can truly help move the needle of success. Some of you reading this may be networking stars, and these suggestions will server as a refresher. Others may be seeking to start the networking process, and hopefully these tips will guide you in the right direction.
Where Do I Go?
As the current Chairman of Commerce Lexington, our Chamber of Commerce, I am absolutely convinced that involvement and networking with the Chamber affords a nearly infinite variety of opportunities for folks who want to grow their businesses. This is as true for those looking to make their first connection as it is for those with an expansive network.
However, virtually every venue or gathering creates similar chances to expand your business. Civic organizations, non-profits, business groups, churches and social activities are amongst the best places to meet potential customers and partners as you “make your business better.” The real point here is, no matter where you find yourself and in whatever group you land you should be thinking “how can I create a positive experience for my business?” while I’m here.
Lend Me Your Ear
Listening is the key to making the “right” connections. Pay attention to those around you and you’ll pick up on the keys of who shares your interests or who might be a prospect to learn about your business. Stay away from those folks who seem only interested in themselves and their own business. You are looking for good listeners as you try to be a good listener.
Find a Common Thread
Always try to figure out commonality with the people whom you meet or are introduced to. Never begin a new conversation about yourself, but rather, follow up by asking questions about what you’ve heard your new acquaintance talking about. Be patient . . . the time will be right to discuss your business, but, if it doesn’t happen, don’t be discouraged. The world is full of smart, interesting and interested people!
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