Since I returned from the U.S., I hosted the first LCC Workshop on Leadership, Communication, and Creativity for the L³ Alliance in Paris and began the process of cementing the connections that I made during my two weeks in Houston and Knoxville.
Because the workshop was held only four days after my return, I didn’t get a good start on my networking follow-up until this week. Even with good systems in place, delay in following up poses a challenge – you forget nuances of conversations and may begin to confuse things and people!
If you’re new to networking, or do it infrequently, you’ll want to create a system to help you manage the process productively.
Laura Savino is an organization expert and the founder of infosearchers.com. She has graciously allowed me to reproduce an excerpt from an article she wrote about putting a networking system into place when she started her business 23 years ago.
ARE YOU AN ORGANIZED NETWORKER?
Networking? That was a concept I never heard of. Hmmm, what’s this Networking Calendar of Events in the business section of my newspaper? Looks interesting – is it a party?
So I went to my first networking event with my beautiful business cards. Walked into a room filled with business women who obviously knew each other and they greeted me warmly. What – a 30 second intro – what’s that? Shaking in my boots, I was able to come up with a quick intro how I help people get organized which actually brought some attention to a woman who said “I need you”. Hey this networking sounds easy peasy! Continued to go to every group around and saw they were different but had same concept – to make yourself known to get business.
Slowly I was able to secure some business within different groups and became known as “Dr. DeClutter”. However, I sensed something else needed to be done. I needed to learn to listen and pay attention to other people selling themselves. I went to a top notch group who had a form with questions laid out about what to ask the other person you’re speaking with to show your interest during one-on-one calls. But I’m meeting so many people and can’t keep track of everyone so what can I use to help me pay attention and remember their specific business and needs?
I created my own networking “homework” form.
It had various pieces of info such as the date, time, name, and contact info for the private meetings I set up. I realized this was about relationship building which is needed for successful networking. I added key questions to ask the other person – like what’s their business, who are their targets, their background, outside interests, ideas we discussed to help each other, leads given/received, action items I said I would do for my fellow networker (follow through is KEY). I then noticed my brain was now engaged from getting to know my fellow networkers as I was able to come up with contacts from other groups in my circles to connect people together so they could possibly do business together.
Networking is not one sided. It’s a mutual respect for each other and for sharing a common goal – to get business. That meant stepping outside my own picture frame and expanding my interest in learning to build relationships by simply listening and asking questions of the other person. It shows compassion, a common ground, a real interest in what I could do for them and not just what they could do for me. It was a lesson in selflessness.
Do you have a networking system in place? Tell me about it in the comments below. Networking is a topic that I plan to include in the DWM Scholarship program that falls under Wells International Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment Strategic Focus Area.
As I mentioned above, I hosted the first LCC Workshop for the L³ Alliance in Paris last week. Several attendees provided me with UNselfie images to express their support of various WIF Strategic Focus Areas. Here’s one of them:
Please support the campaign by printing an UNselfie page, writing a simple sentence that tells why you support us, and sending me a photo of you holding the page.
Here are some examples of what you can write:
I support WIF because they help women entrepreneurs Do What Matters!
I love WIF because they support life balance for women!
Click HERE to print the UNselfie page.
When you’ve taken your UNselfie photo, send it to me at email@example.com and I’ll share it on my social media platforms. I appreciate your support!
If you’d like to support WIF even further, make an early donation by clicking on the link below:
When you do, I’ll post you a special shout-out to you as an early donor on social media and in the next e-mail announcement that I send to the list!
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