Networking- It’s called work!
Networking. See that word sandwiched in the middle of net- and -ing? It’s work. This part of the word is the key to being successful at business gatherings. Personally, I love work. I love the challenge, commitment, and reward. This leads to very long hours at the office and a social life that other bachelors in their late twenties will call pathetic. I spend several nights a week making small talk with people twice my age at business meet-ups- working. After observing and participating in several different networking events, I decided to host my own. After weeks of planning and marketing, the event finally came. 86 confirmed guests and a production crew showed up to our Las Olas office for a night of work. Here are the three take away from the night:
- Networking is more than adding someone to be your colleague on LinkedIn. It’s more than posting a post or sending out a tweet. Don’t get me wrong, Donald Trump is showing us the power of the Internet and social media as he runs for presidency. As much as I value social media, true networking is a face-to-face interaction. A lot can get done over the Internet and behind a screen, however; when given an opportunity to meet like-minded people in person, one must seize it.
- NetWORKing. Notice this isn’t called netsittinginthecorner, or netsocializingwithyourfriends. It is serious work. It requires you to prepare a thirty-second pitch. It involves learning how to enter into conversations and how to prevent irrelevant small talk. You need to be able to exit a conversation that isn’t benefiting you. It is not a party or a social gathering to gossip with friends. It is work. You need to be able to sell. You need to be able to scope out who has something to offer you and who you can benefit. Not only is your networking goal to create relationships that lead to deals, but it is also to be relevant and effective as fast as possible. Your job is to control your time, control the conversation, and realize it is work.
- One saying that is important to keep in mind is when networking is: never judge a book by its cover. It is vital to realize that you can learn from anyone and you never know who you can benefit your business. I’ve been to events where people with over 100 million dollars were the only ones NOT wearing a suit. Judging someone at these events could cost you business. While I like to dress and present myself well, you can’t cross someone off your list simply by how they look.
Networking. It can change your life within a blink of an eye. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert the power of speaking to other people is one of the greatest things one can accomplish. If you can’t sell yourself to a stranger in thirty seconds you shouldn’t be in this business.
Nick Britton has served multiple positions in his career, however; being a preschool teacher was one of the greatest. He served as an advocate at the state level for children and special education. He is a graduate of the oldest private military academy in the nation, Norwich University, earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) and received his Master of Education (M.Ed) from the University of Vermont. He has several professional publications, hosts weekly networking events, and has given public speaking engagements in multiple regions of the country. He owns several investment properties and contributes on a regular basis to www.progressparenting.com