Successful networking requires the understanding from the get-go that it is about what we can do for each other. Networking requires time, patience, and a commitment to helping others. Honest networking is not just meeting as many people as you can with the intent of citing a “mini-commercial" about what you need. No room for selfishness here; networking requires showing an interest in others that will help build credibility and trust - establishing a real relationship.
"Drive-by" networking is often perceived as selling; this is unfortunately the kind of networking that many people experience. The Insights For Women series supports the kind of networking that results in new friendships and mutually beneficial relationships. Networking is NOT the same as canvassing for sales leads. That kind of hard sell introduction does not mutually support everyone.
Go into business and social situations with business cards in your pocket, just in case you need them. Be ready to share information about your business with confidence and pride when the situation naturally allows for it. But also keep in mind that laughter, camaraderie, and small talk can result in sales in ordinary situations where you do not “try too hard”. Let the networking happen without any preconceived notions of a financial dividend. Let the promise of possibility be your goal.
Co-authored by Deb Voss Quail and Roxanne Vincent
Vincent Voss Ventures LLC
Sponsors of Insights For Women, Delafield, WI