Taking the Work Out of Networking


How do you generate business?  It’s a simple question, probably asked by over 100 people today alone at a business to business conference.
But really, the answer is not so simple.  After all, there’s billboards, advertising in newspapers, advertising in magazines, marketing, direct mail, cold calls, door to door, email, website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Instagram, blogs, speaking, newspaper articles, magazine articles, press releases, networking events, conferences, seminars, trade shows, and don’t forget about sponsorship.  I’m getting tired just thinking about it.
Can you really boil it all down to something that doesn’t feel like work?  Into something that is almost fun?  I think so.
I went to a conference where the presentations all seemed to be titled with “steps” or “secrets.”   I’ll give it a try:  
Three secrets to taking the work out of networking:
  1. Do what you naturally enjoy.  Sometimes you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but you don’t have to do it right out of the gate.  If you enjoy meeting people in person, go to events.  If your prefer long phone conversations, maybe calling people is your best option.  Don’t like to write?  Then don’t force yourself to at the beginning of planning your networking.  If you try to tackle all of the steps above to reach your revenue goals, all at the same time, all at the start, then you are setting yourself up for frustration and failure.
  2. Delegate what isn’t in your skill set.  This is a hard lesson for any new company, especially when you are worried about the bottom line.  But the hard truth is that you will get a better return for your money if you hire a graphic designer to make something eye-catching while you are out meeting with clients or customers.  You are out making the deal, while work that might not be your strong suit is still getting done.
  3. Meet people in the real world before friending or connecting online. People are much more likely to remember you, your name, and what you do if they meet you in person – before you reach out to them on a social media network. You cannot rely on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media network to be the sole source of your business.  While this might be an easy way to network, it isn’t the most effective use of your time.  As a general rule, start with the people you know on social media.  Move on from there, meeting more people in the real world before adding them online.
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