Recently I attended the Business Chicks 9 to Thrive conference held over two days with an inspiring line-up of speakers and a group of eager and enthusiastic women in attendance. I enjoyed the various presentations and meeting women from varied businesses, backgrounds and experience. It was an opportunity to meet new people but also to get new ideas and to look at my business from a fresh perspective.
All too often we get caught up with the day-to-day aspects of running our businesses or doing our job. I know I do. But I’m also conscious that I need to get out and meet people often and look at things from a different angle, whether it’s through networking events, attending courses, being involved in community events or speaking engagements. And especially so if you work from a home office.
“Be Visible”. That is what Sir Richard Branson says. It’s one of his top tips to business success.
“A good leader does not get stuck behind a desk. I’ve never worked in an office – I’ve always worked from home – but I get out and about meeting people,” says Branson.
Who would have thought Richard Branson worked from home!
I know you may not like the idea of “networking”. It feels uncomfortable or the idea of it might be a bit “salesy”. I’ve met some great people though networking – made some friends. I have created business but more importantly I have built relationships that are important to working life.
Try these few suggestions to make networking feel a bit more like socialising and just enjoying other peoples’ company without any hidden agenda.
- If you are a bit shy don’t go alone for the first time. Go with a friend. That will help you feel a bit more relaxed. But don’t spend all your time that one person. Both of you can approach a group together and join in on a conversation or chat to that one person who is on their own.
- Having an objective may help. Now It’s not going to be – to win a $10,000 piece of business. But it might be something simple. I’m going to have a conversation with three people and exchange business cards with three people. Achieving that may help you feel like you’ve accomplished something from attending that event.
- Think of questions in advance that you can ask people. The inevitable, “So what do you do?” probably will come up so be prepared for that. Try and open up the conversation by asking other people questions. What brings you here to this event? Have you ever been to this networking event before? I’m really looking forward to hearing the speaker – have you heard them speak before? Something else to open up the conversation.
- Which takes me to my next point… if you listen to people and take an active interest in what they are saying, it will take the focus off you. So ask other people questions about themselves. Puts them at ease and you will feel a lot more confident networking.
- And have a bit of enthusiasm. if you really don’t feel like going – don’t go. Put on a happy face. Act like you are pleased to be there even if you aren’t feeling confident. You don’t have to go over the top but be the best upbeat version of you. And you never know you just might enjoy yourself. And feel a lot more at ease networking the next time.
Get out in the real world, meet people and build your brand through networking.
These tactics and more will be covered in my Boost Your Brand with High Visibility workshop to be held on the Gold Coast on Friday, November 2.
Call 1300 723 713 to learn more or book now.
Need further tips? Sign up for my free video training series, NOOK, LOOK and HOOK, 3 Steps to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand.
Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is recognised as a leading authority on personal branding to boost image, profile, brand and business. Through her image management and profile building programs, workshops, consulting and keynote presentations, Sue helps businesses and entrepreneurs position and present an influential professional brand.