I know you keep getting messages of 'slow it down'. It comes up in so many ways in so many conversations and in so many ways of being. It is profound during your coaching. It is profound for the proposal.
It's also really profound during the CONNECT piece as well. Some of my groups have been struggling with how to connect with people - and many of the questions I receive from you guys taps right into how you feel uncomfortable approaching people, how you don't know who to connect with or how to come off without appearing to be smarmy (totally a word).
I remember almost 2 decades ago I went to my first networking event. Now understand that I'm a complete introvert AND was shy as a child as well. I got on the phone with a friend on my way to the meeting and literally dropped the F-Bomb 30 times on the way to the event because I was dreading it so much. At the time I was selling Reverse Mortgages, a product I truly believed in and personally saved hundreds of seniors from fixed income hell. I digress... I walked in and milled around. The first person to ask me what I did, well did she get an ear full! I talked for a good 15 minutes about the product handed her not one but several cards so it would be easy for her to make referrals. After she made her hasty escape I looked around for my next 'prospect'. I had a stack of cards in my hand and a room to educate... I was totally the person you'd most want to avoid in any room.
In those first few months of networking I was stunned to find out that no one ever called me from those events. I figured they weren't worth my time. I just didn't know what I didn't know.
Then a friend gave me the book 'How To Win Friends And Influence People'... okay a bit old fashioned but the essence was that people don't care about you, they care about themselves. You'll be the most interesting person in the room if all you did was get curious about others first and foremost.
So I started this different approach. I had a goal to be a collector of cards instead of a giver. I took on the role of an interested host, making sure connections were made and that I helped people feel at home. And my business grew. I actually started getting so many referrals that I had to bring on someone to help me. I stopped bringing my cards to meetings completely. I took on leadership roles within the groups. Shoot... I started a couple of my own networking groups -one just for women and one of which was centered around wine tasting that's still going on a decade later.
In other words... I slowed down my connecting. I didn't rush in to offer my services or give people my card.
Fast forward to my clients today and here's what was happening (then for me and now for them) - they were going into Step 1: CONNECT with their eyes and hearts and head already focusing on Steps 2-4. They were going into this piece already wondering how they would INVITE or deciding on the exact program they were going to PROPOSE.
Slow it down.
FOCUS on nothing BUT connecting. Strike up a conversation. Get curious about them. Don't be so anxious to give them a card and expect them to leap. Build a relationship. Be the person who looks them in the eye and sees them. Step 2 will come up naturally and organically if you really commit to connecting and digging and asking lots of questions and being more interested in the other person than you are about telling anything about you.
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