Growth. We all want the silver bullet. Yet the simplicity of growing a brand starts with talking to strangers and then doing the next uncomfortable part of the process, following up.
Honestly, people hide behind marketing themselves as it can feel easier to outsource with ads rather than do the things that add to your business.
I believe in networking and so should you.
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Last week I shared the stage with Stephen Caulker as a sponsor of the Hungarian British Business Alliance. I finished the evening having my photo taken (admittedly it felt more like I was photo-bombing others) as people wanted a pic with the speakers.
I reflected and wondered how it had all happened and how had I gotten to share The Crisis Catalyst with 110 people that last year I knew little of and even little about. Networking! London is opening up to me as a result of working with and for Susanna Toth Lee and the team.
As we admired the view across London, (I had bought along with me a fellow collaborator, Film Duo’s Jerry Henman), we caught a glimpse of how networking continues to open doors that were previously off the radar and even off the grid.
Networking simply elevates you if you are prepared to walk the hard yards. It takes work, but being a collector of names allows you to become a collector of opportunities.
So, why does networking help you in your quest to be more purpose-driven?
The answer is that when you are clear on yourself and who you are, you become magnetic. Gary Player famously said the harder he practised the luckier he got. In a similar vein, the more you network the more opportunities you attract.
Here are some insights for those who still feel guilty doing the opposite of what their parents told them to do, namely, talking to strangers…
Know who you are.
When you are comfortable with who you are, finding your “who” (the people you serve best) is much easier. Since I majored in being purposeful, guess what? The people I have connected with have become more purposeful.
Not many people know what they want and, ironically, many are surprised when they don’t find anything either.
At our brand agency, Cre8ion, we love helping people and it is no wonder we work with companies that service many communities. It is our mission…
“Using the media to create community impact, globally.’”
Know your “who”.
You have to be brave. The best relationships are forged by knowing what excites you and the synergies that make you both tick. As a result, there will be people that do the opposite. However, when you know yourself, your “who” is much clearer.
Posturing, ego-driven takers stand out in the room to me and as they list their achievements they have inadvertently chosen to opt out of my world.
The people who take an interest in people, purpose and the planet are the people we do our best work for! Why? Because we have a value set that is transforming those very things.
Brands with purpose that empower people to create a better planet.
Know what you can do.
Keeping things simple ensures people know what impact you can make. Concentrate on serving rather than selling! I help people put purpose at the heart of their business and help them build a legacy to be proud of.
Our vision is to be:
A World-class, sustainable creative agency helping one hundred thousand CEOs create purposeful brands that give companies a legacy.
With our workshops, podcast and my book, we are well on the way to making that happen!
As a leader you need to know where you are taking people otherwise you will have no one to lead. You’ll just be taking a lonely walk!
When you know what you can do to help strangers you will appear less strange to others. That is what will set you apart. Being clear. Clarity gives confidence and when the world is in crisis, that clarity is the difference maker.
I could say so much more on this subject but here are 10 things that will help you when you are standing in the networking room, having stepped right out of your comfort zone.
- Serve don’t sell. A business card isn’t a transaction. It is an opportunity to help. If people are trying a close on meeting number one, you are a number to them. Exit.
- Take a break. Talking to people for the first time should mean you concentrate a lot. Take a toilet break, a walk outside for 5, and a breather. It focuses the mind.
- Don’t drink too much. Sounds simple, yet a moment can ruin your reputation. Limit yourself. Be your best for others. You are on the job, even when it’s social.
- You won’t meet everyone. Stop. Rule of 5. Have 5 deep conversations and leave with connections. Knowing who you are makes it easier to decide with whom you connect.
- Look for people who are on their own. There will be some great people who are crying out to be helped. Rather than ignore them, be inclusive. I have met the very best of people by being the one who takes the time for the isolated.
- Get details. Exchange details and follow up. Don’t just add to your mailing list, seek to learn more about the person. Build relationships one brick at a time.
- Update your LinkedIn. People go there more than websites. Make your bio reflect where you are now, not 5 years ago! Even update your picture!
- Come to give. What do you have? If you have written a book, bring one. If you have learned something new, be prepared to share. Add value to the conversations.
- Have a team. At any networking event, having close relationships enables you to look out for more possibilities than you can on your own. A mini team, all thinking of each other rather than just you.
- Follow Up. Pick up where you left off. Meet again. Whether it’s on Zoom or in person keep the communication going. Strangers should become less strange over time as you get to know people. Relationships emerge when we learn to relate with one another.
Ultimately, networking can be uncomfortable. Hiding behind a desk waiting for leads is easier in the short term but stepping out into the unknown is the difference between elevating your brand and remaining where you are now.
The strength of your net worth is measured by your network! As an advocate and owner of a network (Introbiz Bristol), I cannot recommend how transformative they can be. Being a part of “many” helps to allay fears of the future and also gives you the bricks to build an exciting one.