Networking…..the word fills you with dread. You imagine walking into a room full of suits and heels. Feel like you are the only one in the room who just drove here with the petrol gauge on ‘E’. Everyone seems to know each other already. Your heart is beating, you’ve fixed a smile on your face. You get a coffee. Smile at the lady who is also getting a coffee. You smile, say hi there….they ignore you and walk away…..Oh no, why did I think I could do this!! Why did I believe I could start a business and become one of these people……they’re not even friendly!! Aaaaagh ya big eeejit Samantha!!!
That was my first experience of attending my first networking event. If I had listened to the voices in my head and thought that all people were like that awful lady who ignored me then I wouldn’t be where I am today! Phew!!
I have to admit that some of the networking events I attended weren’t very positive. But some were my own fault. Not being prepared for example. I was going but I didn’t know why. I hadn’t made a list of who I wanted to meet, didn’t know what I could offerothers and I didn’t do my research. On the other hand those particular events were very formal and to be honest some of the people there weren’t very friendly and to this day I don’t even bother with those who I remember ignored me on that day.
I’ve learned that I am just as entitled to be there as anyone else is. And that there are so many other networking events that aren’t so formal and can be quite fun. I started #irishbizparty on Twitter as an online networking event every Wednesday. Now we meet up offline at conferences organized between us all! These are casual events but with inspiring speakers specially selected by myself who I know always help others out and are very kind with their time. I also make sure that a few irishbizparty members themselves get a chance on the stage to show what they can do, and it helps them to get their name out there whilst building their own confidence too.
You won’t get the message out about what you do or what service you offer if you are sitting in at home. The phone won’t ring if people don’t know about you.
Inspiration Through Networking
One story I know of, is that one girl who came along to an event actually felt so inspired afterwards that she now has started her own business! Also, another who went to see one of the speakers and sat in the front row, then introduced herself, kept in touch on Twitter and then ended up on the same show as her! Wow!
Imagine if she hadn’t gone to the event. If she had sat at the back. You just never know where that next huge connection will be, who they will be or when they will appear in your life! Keep using Twitter and Facebook to build relationships online first if you find that is easier. Then take them offline. Meet up for a cuppa, or if you see that they are attending an event tell them you will meet them there! They might be able to introduce you to someone who might change everything for you.
OR….what can you bring to the event? What can YOU do for someone there? If you start thinking what you can bring or offer by way of an introduction or assistance you would be surprised how things will go!! Listen ….listen to what others are saying. Think about how you might be able to assist.
That next connection you make could make all the difference to you moving from Small business owner in your village to small business owner being featured on National TV!! Or from being introduced to that investor who really clicks with you and wants to assist in some way. Or the person who introduces you to the buyer in that big pharmacy chain.
Come to the next #irishbizparty #Bizpartyinspires event. We are all waiting to meet you and assist you on your journey!
Check out our Facebook group also. (Free)
For Ladies who want to join a friendly Female Group of Entrepreneurs join my Women’s Inspire Network Facebook group here (Free)
There are plenty of groups who meet up in a casual environment. Check out Meetup.com or Eventbrite.com for events that might be coming up in your area. Also check out DubNetBiz also (Free networking).