The thought of networking can be exciting for some, and strike fear straight to the heart in others. Yet networking is one of the most beneficial things a small business owner can do for the growth of their business. The purpose of networking is to foster relationships and help people; in turn, those relationships can bring partnerships, new customers, and fresh ideas to your small business. However, good networking etiquette is critical, or you risk becoming a pariah of sorts in your networking communities. We recently came across some good wisdom from the animal kingdom called “When Networking, Don’t Act Like an Animal.”
Don’t be a shark, prowling the waters for the next big fish.
Don’t lurk like a vulture, ready to swoop down on your prey.
Don’t gab like a magpie and talk, and talk, and talk. (Nobody likes a boar.)
Don’t be a turtle hiding in your shell.
Don’t strut your stuff like a proud peacock.
Don’t be a hyena getting laughs at the expense of others.
Don’t eat prospects alive like a lion.
Don’t be a pack rat, hoarding referrals.
Don’t slither around the room like a slimy snake.
Although elephants never forget, if someone makes a mistake, give them another chance and “forget about it.”
Remember, when you give and receive referrals, prospects will multiply like rabbits.
(Author unknown, source: Darren Cecil, Sandler Training)
Good stuff, right?! We’ve all been at networking events and met a shark, a vulture, or a peacock. These ‘animals’ are the reason why many people get knots in their stomach at the thought of attending a networking event. So, next time you attend a networking event, think about these pointers:
- Be sincere. Be friendly and helpful.
- Take time to listen and look at people’s business cards.
- Don’t look over your shoulder to find the next person you would like to talk to.
- Attend the event with a ‘serving’ attitude. Make a conscious effort to give more than you receive. In the long run, you will receive tenfold what you give.
- Allow others to go first. This is not only polite, but it gives you insight into how to tailor your message to then when it comes to your turn to talk about what you do.
What successes have you had with networking? Please share, we would love to hear your stories!