One of my biggest regrets is not knowing my worth when it came to networking. I’ve found myself shoulder to shoulder to entertainments top stars and wealthy business people…situations I could have finessed to be in a very different position than I am in today. However, being around successful people is not enough. A realization of my purpose was important before trying to even talk to these business on a business front. Who am I? What do I do? What am I passionate about? And what skills do I have that can be beneficial to a certain situation? Those things need to be answered before approaching anyone. Now that I have better clarity I can network. Here are a few tips that will help you navigate when it comes to networking:
Before thinking about asking someone to put you on, know yourself! Who are you? How would you define yourself? Decide what you have to offer the world. Are you great at creative direction, do you know finance, are you able to draw crowds of people to a party? Think about how you can benefit someone else before thinking about yourself. If you don’t do this important exercise, you can be viewed as a taker or opportunist. Along with knowing what you have to offer, you should know what your passions are. If your idol was in the room and was able to change your life overnight but wanted to know what you were about, what would you say? What is your story? What do you care about? You have to know this before networking.
KNOW THAT EVERYONE HAS VALUE
That bouncer could be an amazing award-winning screen-writer. That guy with 200 followers could be months away from going viral. Your professor could have access to the CEO of your favorite clothing company. All of these things, you’d probably never know unless you got to know these people. Never dismiss someone as useless, ever. Not only because they could get you where you want to go…but because you wouldn’t want to be dismissed yourself. We all start from somewhere. Having connections with people who are actively working towards their goals can benefit and inspire you. Networking with everyone, even people who aren’t widely successful at the moment helps. Make friends, make connections and utilize them when the time is right (not without having something to offer yourself).
Now that you know what you’re passionate about, the service you want to provide and have cleared your bias of who you THINK is beneficial to you…prospect! Don’t be a walking billboard or nag everyone with an elevator pitch, but know how to work your intent into conversations. Typically when you meet someone new, you’re asked what you do. After you tell them your passions and services, they will decide if you can be of benefit to them or someone they know. That is how you prospect. You’re not forcing people to buy into who you are when you truly aren’t needed on the business side. You want to happen to meet people who can benefit from you.
When you find a mutually beneficial situation, definitely plan to take action. Know what it is you both intend to do and try your best to make it happen. Be real with them, stay in touch, go underneath the surface so that the relationship is authentic and execute. Always follow through on meetings, calls and production. Remember that your work is your reputation, you want to handle every business relationship with grace. With this mindset you will make more connections and expand!