The Authentic Networker
First let’s explain what an authentic networker is. It is a person who is networking from an authentic place. They are not there to just drum up business but to build a brand from a personal place. Sharing a piece of your personal self to connect and build lasting relationships.
When I first started to go to networking events, I hated it; I am by nature very reserved and a bit of an introvert. It took me a long time to go to events and just walk up to people and start talking let alone start networking. As I started going to more and more professional development events and started building confidence, it became easier to start conversations.
After going to a professional development workshop and learning about authentic management, I found it easier to go up to people and start talking about cooking and recipes for creating a special meal, which for me are comfortable topics. Then I was able to come to a place of talking about business. Since food is something that everyone can relate to, I found my way into sharing my authentic self and networking. This has made it easier for me to walk up to people and have a conversation with a total stranger.
Tips to help you get over those nerves when going to your next networking, business conference, expo, lecture event:
- Take time to figure out what is your authentic self.
- What do you like to do that you love talking about besides your business?
- Body language is important; people can pick up if you are not comfortable.
- Practice with friends, family members to get into the habit of being comfortable.
- Talk in front of the mirror to view your facial expressions.
- What drives your passion? What do you love doing besides your business? Do you volunteer? Great ice breaker.
- Don’t speak about things that can be argumentative i.e. religion, politics, race, etc.
- Come from a place of authenticity
- Remember the end goal of networking is to build allies, partnerships, mentorships, referrals and the bottom line future sales.
- Remember to have fun enjoy meeting people and RELAX.