Have you ever encountered marketeers selling insurance policies? Well, I have on several occasions. These guys will approach with one goal, “it’s either you are in or you are in, ”one-way traffic. Interestingly, no matter your current needs, their product is always the answer.
Unconsciously we find ourselves doing the same thing in networking events, we are after selling ourselves out there. Imagine someone who is interested in what you can offer them but not interested in you as a person.
Well, this is sometimes what I see in events; people come with expectations. Whereas it’s okay to be aggressive in finding new leads for your business or organization, being too aggressive may blind you from making the right connections.
Personally, I used to attend events and try to meet as many people as possible, collect their contacts and come back too motivated. Unfortunately, two things always happen; either I will send an email and never receive a reply from that contact or I will look at the business card and feel no connection and interest just goes. “Such cards always remain unused.” all these are caused by connecting with people’s professions and not they themselves.
But here is effective networking that has actually worked for me and in my own opinion, I feel it’s the most effective form of networking. So, one day, I went for an event, my goal was to make just one connection. I decided to have a conversation with only one person, as a lover of photography, I was curious to know about this female photographers’ story.
I genuinely reached out to listen to her story, we shared a lot and we began to resonate with each other. This helped us to explore our professional lives, it seemed like we all got what we needed in that networking event. Our natural conversation and genuine interest in each other gave me the opportunity to redefine networking, I no longer go for networking events with an aggressive attitude to sell myself or organization but just to make that one friend who will last beyond the event, I believe the best network is made up of people you call friends.
It’s my strong opinion that you have a genuine interest in people, this makes them open up and share willingly. I don’t mean talking to one person is the rule of thumb here but spend time knowing people you meet and make lasting relationships.
This has worked for me and it can work for you too!