Let me begin by saying I’m not one who naturally gets out there and networks. Despite having a part of me that loves to lead and I can get up in front of a room to speak, walking into a networking event turns me into an immediate wallflower.
Over the years of growing my soulful business, I’ve had to continually re-define how I approached networking to suit my introverted ways and how I want to show up to my work.
In working with healers and coaches, and having so many healers in my community, I see the same fears and misconceptions that I had about networking stop people from getting out there and connecting in ways that will support them.
And I see some patterns around who my healer friends like to network with, which sometimes keeps them in a safe zone… never fueling their business with a different energy or approach to business.
So here are some tips to the healers and the introverted soulful entrepreneurs out there, to help make the whole networking thing more bearable.
First, get clear on what your work is all about to speak it more clearly.
I don’t go to a whole lot of networking events where I literally have 60-seconds to say what I do. There are a lot of those happening around me, but that’s just not how I roll. So when I’m at an event and people have a bit more time to share, I often hear people ramble. In the end, I’m left wondering what it is they actually do.
When you’re clear with who you are and what you do — from a perspective of what matters to you about your work and what issue you solve — you will know how to speak of your work in ways that engage people.
You will simply speak your truth! You, speaking about your work, comes from your core, but you do need to find a way to express this in a way that’s concise and clear.
Focus on the most personal reason why you do what you do — why you care. And if the answer is broad, like you are here to heal the world, keep narrowing down your reason to what you personally have to say about why the world needs healing.
There’s always a core “what matters.” It can take some digging because you have to step up and own your truth and your power. So, find that. Speak to that when you get out and network and people will be engaged.
Pick a few groups that really fit for you.
There are so many kinds of networking groups these days, so do some research on what fits for you. Search on Facebook or Meetup for local networking groups, you’ll find a ton.
I always suggest connecting with the voice of your business — the energy of your business — and asking what it needs. How does it need you to show up to yourself and your business in a way that will move it forward? What are the different goals you have for networking?
Then look for groups that will let you do that.
I personally love to go to smaller groups where I get to talk with people over lunch or coffee. I don’t go to events where it’s just about swapping business cards. I want to get to know people. I’m looking for connection and collaboration. Usually, my more introverted healer friends feel the same way.
So, get clear on what you want to get out of the group — and remember networking is not about selling, but connecting — and then try a group out a few times to see if it fits.
Don’t throw the whole idea of networking out the window because you fear the sleazy sales-networking that we so often think of. There are some wonderful groups popping up that take care of business in a whole new way.
Find two or three of those and go consistently.
Use the buddy system.
Walking into an event all on your own can be terrifying. So take a friend or two. Ask a few friends to focus on networking with you for a month and go to events together.
Chat, smile, keep your body language open and make eye contact with people who pass by. Invite them to join you. And think ahead about what it does sound like to authentically express what you offer in a few sentences.
You and your friends can help each other when you’re talking with people by highlighting a few things about each other — you know, casually chatting about each other’s work! That way, it’s not all on you.
Make sure you network with people who do all kinds of things.
It’s easy to want to hang out with people you feel comfortable with. But I’m going to encourage you to find a few groups that gift you the chance to be uncomfortable.
As a healer, you might gravitate to events that feel soft and gentle; where the discussion is sometimes about healing or energy and the like. You may even only do networking at healing events. The idea of chatting it up with bankers and real-estate agents and financial planners may be intimidating. I get it. But do it. You’ll grow.
Have at least one group that is super diverse. It will elevate how you see yourself and your business. Let the instigators push you a bit to think in more edgy ways. Let the financial planners reflect where you go into fear with money.
If you’re just starting out as a healer or a coach and your business feels simple in structure — just you doing your thing — you may not think of your business like a business. But when you hang out with other business owners who have employees or who deal with huge contracts and such, you can witness your own ideas around playing small and even staying small.
Recognizing potential is a great reason to spend time networking with people who do things differently than you and who are at different places with their business than you might ever dream of.
Go and be inspired. Let the people in your business community reveal your own potential. The people you hang around with will help you uplevel. Find a group where people are doing big and different things who can open you into more.
I know it’s hard to get out there and share what you do.
It’s necessary though.
And not just because we all need to be supporting each other and connecting each other with support, clients, and resources. That’s important. But networking also gives us a way to learn about ourselves.
If you have a healing business of some kind that feels soulful — an expression of you — then you are always evolving through your work. And the groups you choose to support you on that journey will become an important part of that evolution.
So, today, choose to get out there a bit, even if you’re scared. Go share who you are and what you do and why that matters. Inspire people. Be inspired.
You will grow, and so will your soulful business.