I had a conversation recently with a new BNI member who expressed that she has always been somewhat uncomfortable networking because she’s always been afraid of sounding like she’s being pushy, and she has a hard time knowing when it’s even OK to approach the subject of business with other people.I told her what I’ve said countless times over the years to many other people–that the absolute key to networking appropriately is making sure to always honor the event.
You can network any time and any place, but as long as you are honoring the event, there is nothing to be afraid of.However, this means that in some cases you are going to network a lot differently than you would in other cases.For example, networking at a chamber mixer is one thing, while networking at church social event is something completely different.
It is essential to understand that networking does not mean that you should constantly be trying to sell people your products or services. Networking does mean that you should constantly build relationships. The best way to build relationships is to help someone whenever possible.
In order to appropriately network at a church social event, for example, you should make contacts, put people together, help others and build relationships.However, you should not be actively promoting your business.You should simply focus on putting people together and helping others.
Always keep your networking goals in sight at all events and opportunities, but don’t become a networking vulture or someone that everyone else runs from when they see you coming. Honor the event and tailor your networking strategies so that you fit in without being tuned out.
Always be sincere; and remember that no one minds the opportunity to exchange information that will benefit one or more people, even when that exchange takes the form of helping someone..