Usually, when we listen to the word “Networking”, we imagine a lot of people in a room talking about their professional careers and approaches, trying to connect with different persons to expand networks and encounter new collaborations. And that is basically the main objective of it. But it is actually a process that takes more than those minutes. It might take months or years. Is on you to set a strong beginning and make the moment last for a long time. For that, have you thought about “your specific purpose” whenever you have the opportunity to do networking?
Let’s explore the following steps that we should have in mind before participating in a networking event and always take great advantage of those important moments.
1. Networking with Purpose:
First, we have to set a specific goal, based on our current professional needs. For example Today I want to engage stakeholders on my intervention strategy. “I want to find partners to help me grow my business idea”. I would like to engage actors on a certain campaign. Think deeply about your goal every time before assisting to a networking event and proceed to step 2.
2. Elaborate your elevator pitch:
Whenever we think about the term elevator pitch, we enclose a 3-minute statement with our mission and we expect that after that the other person will invest the millions we need. But creating a good pitch requires more than a short statement. The passion needs to be projected with the body. Elaborate your pitch with attractive and relevant information about your approaches adding some fun facts to provoke catharsis and curiosity.
3. Choose persons:
In the room, you might find many persons with different goals and backgrounds. But who do you really need? Sometimes it might be an event before, where you should have detected who would you like to approach or maybe you don’t really have previous knowledge of the assistants. Choose from 5 to 7 specific persons to talk with purpose and you might find a potential partner.
4. Smile with your body:
When you walk to the person make sure to project a healthy and serene smile that shouldn’t be only reflected in your face, but also in your body, an inclusive and empathetic state of mind is most important to establish good relationships.
5. Make eye contact:
There are three specific things that should be done at the same time while approaching a person: Smile, shake hands and make eye contact. With that, you are building trust and also you stimulate a receptive state of mind on the other person.
6. Make a trivial comment:
Once you have the other person’s attention and receptive mind, you might begin with a fun fact, or remembering an event where you were able to see him/her performing great, or something you know this person was involved in, you can also give compliments of his/her amazing work and even expand the receptive state of mind. If you don’t know the person’s background, start with step 7.
7. Introduce yourself with purpose:
Pitch starts with your introduction, you might want to follow this structure: Your name, what are you specifically working on now and where, what is your mission/vision in a single attractive sentence, and the final question. Example: My name is Alexa Jones; I work on a business strategy for my own social enterprise or other. My mission is to generate 1 million dollars monthly from 1 million souls to 1 million people. How does it sound? Would you like to know what is the golden strategy for that and how you might also be benefited?
8. Explore personal preferences:
Once you have created curiosity and before throwing the golden strategy you want to know more about the person, so you might say: “Before sharing it with you, talk to me about yourself”, since you are also interested on his/her insights and you want it to be an interactive moment where both can share, learn and engage. With that you will also start exploring his/her needs and preferences and adapt the pitch you have in mind to fulfill the personal interests. Remember to be an active listener, and ask for details if is needed. Make it a smooth and fluent conversation.
9. Create the need for collaboration:
Once you have basic information about the person needs and preferences, you will say your elevator pitch with purpose adapting some statements or vocabulary to what you believe this person wants to hear based on the information he/she gave you. If you manage to make that match at the end of your pitch, you will receive the following question from the other person: And how can I help you? Continue to step 10.
10. Be specific when answering the question.
First, you say thank you for the interest and let the person know that it will be a benefit for all the actors. Answer with a very specific request. For example, I noticed your company has the best communications team in the city, and you have great acceptance in social media. We need to have more traffic on our channels and web to recruit donors. Can you refer me to the team?
Or… if you are interested in his/her investment. You might want to say, why don’t we explore the strategy deeply and how can we benefit from it?… We have a great restaurant in front of the office building, and they make the best fondue, do you have time for lunch this Friday? You know that lunch will be a strategy to create more interest in numbers. You have to be ready with a second pitch with purpose, more complex and realistic. And even ready to make an office tour. If you make the lunch happen, you might be eating with your next biggest partner, who will make your business grow as your initial purpose was.