When starting a business, it can be really helpful to have a team supporting you. A team of different people, with different perspectives and different values. But, how do you find those people?
It can be really hard to get out there in the first place. And if you’re eventually went out, how do you approach? I will talk a lot about how to act and what to do at networking events, but read till the end for some tips on how to find and get to networking events.
1. YES attitude
First of all it is important to grab your opportunities by the balls. Ofcourse the occasional self-care night at home is nice, but when someone invites you out, don’t say no right away. Take a moment and look at all the good things that can happen if you go out. Remember, the biggest regrets are about the things you didn’t do. This also counts for the moment someone tries to open a conversation with you.
2. Take the risk
When it comes down to starting a conversation, just take the risk. You’re probably scared to be rejected by the other person, but the chance of being rejected is actually much smaller than you may think. Big chance that person is also waiting for someone to make a move. Not only is taking the risk worth it at specific events. You can start a conversation with the person sitting next to you on the train or someone waiting with you in line at the store. If the other person doesn’t feel like talking you’ll know soon enough and you’ve got nothing to lose.
3. Practice wearing heels
This one obviously only counts if you’re a woman, or if you’re a man who likes to wear heels. And this one may be a long shot. But really, practice. At a networking party you want to look classy and confident, I personally always like to wear heels because they make me feel feminine and empowerd. When networking you want to be fully present in the occuring conversation and don’t want to be stumbling around with hurting feet.
4. 3 guards
When networking, have 3 guards for your mouth; nice, honesty and necessity. This means, before you say anything, ask yourself: is it nice? is it honest? and is it necessary? This way you won’t regret the things you say.
5. Ask but tell
First of all it is really important to ask a lot. People like to talk about themselves and it makes them feel good. When someone feels good in a conversation, they will get more engaged and it will become easier. The tell part means, tell them about your dreams and about the topics the other person can help you in. For example: you’re talking to a publisher. Your dream has always been to publish a book. Ask them how the job is, what the hardest and the best parts of the job are and wether or not they always wanted to be a publisher. Then you tell him or her that it has always been a dream of yours to publish a book and what criteria you will have to fullfil. This way the publisher knows you’re interested and will be more likely to help you on your way.
6. Practice posture
It is really important to know what vibe you’re sending out. If you are standing tall and confident, people will be more tempted to come over and talk to you than when you are “hiding” yourself by crossing your arms in front of you or bowing your head. Stand tall and smile, you are worthy of being here and there is no one who can stop you from being you.
7. Bring evidence
If you are going out to network to promote your business it is really important to have evidence that you are serious. When you find that person you can help you, you want them to stick with you. So, bring a small version of the product you’re making or a businessplan. This will show the person that this is not simply an idea but a real business. For example I always carry some of the stones the artist made with me, just in case I meet someone who is interested.
8. Bring businesscards
Like I told you, if you meet someone who seems interested in helping you, you want them to stick with you. By giving them a businesscard, it will be easier for them to contact you. Even if the other person didn’t bring a businesscard, you can write their information on the back of one of the cards.
9. Be who you are and not who you think you should be
Certain network events can be really overwhelming. It is easy to find yourself being nervous and afraid that people won’t like you for who you are. But let me tell you, the people who don’t like you for who you are really don’t matter. The only people you can build on and grow with are the people who appreciate you for who you are.
Ofcourse you are at a networking event to network and find people and opinions for you business. But it is also important to help other people out. Ofcourse you shouldn’t dim your light so others can shine, but you will create a real bond with someone the moment you teach them something or help them out with a problem. If you help someone out, they will also be more likely to help you out when in need.
So, almost all of the tips above are about networking events and how to act on them. But how do you actually get to networking events? how to find them? Well, to be honest I am very fortunate to have parents who go to a lot of events and invite me with. But if you are not that fortunate here are some tips:
- Tell people! When you talk to your friends, family and basically anyone, tell them that you are looking for networking events and why. It is nothing to be ashamed of and maybe the person who can introduce you to the events has been right in front of you all along!
- Google. This one you probably could’ve thought of yourself. Google on networking events near your city and just go and check them out.
- Ask for help. If you admire someone, and you wonder where they go to network, just email them. You’ll be amazed at how many people really want to help you. And if that person doesn’t reply, well you’ve lost 5 minutes of your time.
- Like I said before, you can also just network on the train or at the local store. If you’re in school you also have a lot of people who can help you out. For me, I work at home, it can be hard to get out there and network. But if I want to get out I’ll just go for a walk or to the library. You can also discuss business at party’s.
- And last, but very much not least. Network online! Make sure your social media is on point and contact people. In this time and age it is very important to have your social media together. Know your platforms and use them to tell people what you’re doing with your business. Even if you’ve only got 3 followers! If someone is interested in you or your business, they will go straight to your social media to find more about it.