Curiosity – the basis of successful networking

How adventurous are you in trying out new ways of doing things?  Do you try different restaurants all the time, or do you stick to the few that are tried and true when you go out to eat?  Do you drive the same routes from work to home, or do you try out different routes from time to time?

It’s no doubt that we are creatures of habit, so when it comes to something that is unfamiliar, we cringe at the thought of doing it.  Many people I meet through coaching have this fear of the “N” word – Networking.  They don’t do it often, they hate a room of unfamiliar faces, they don’t know what to say, they have a bad experience or feel like a wallflower (maybe reminiscent of junior/high school dances), and they cringe at the thought of being subjected to another networking event.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

If you switch your mindset from focusing on yourself to focusing on others, networking can become a positive experience.  I know that we go to networking events to see if we can get clients, referral sources, or contacts.   So when we talk to people, our mind is consumed by what we can get out of them and what’s in it for us, and at the same time we feel like that cheesy used-car salesman bragging about our own services or products.

Try switching your frame of mind instead.  Go with an open-mind,  be genuinely curious about what the other person does, think of ways you can help them – do you know someone in your network that can benefit from their services?  How did they get into their line of business?  What kind of customers are they looking for?  Try this out and see if it takes the pressure off “you”, and watch for the genuine conversation that follows.

Find it too intimidating to try this at a networking event?  How about starting with going to a different restaurant or changing your routine a little bit with a curious mind about what you’ll find?  Let me know if it make a difference to how you perceive networking.

Comments

  1. It is so easy to get stuck in our old ways. you’ve presented a nice way to look at trying the unknown. As I have been business building I have had a great learning experience in the area of networking. I feel like I have done a whole new degree this last year as I have learned web development, social networking, blogging and marketing. Networking has amazingly supported me in learning so many new tips to growing business.

    • Hi Ninna – good on you to stretch yourself in learning continuously and being proactive on business building! I’m looking forward to watching your chapter grow.

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