To network or not to network? That is the question.
For those in attendance at the March 5 WBOC meeting “Power Up Your Network”, the question was already answered. You were there, ‘powering up’ to expand your network and learning new ways to intentionally grow your business contacts.
Syracuse Woman Editor Farah Jadran engaged a lively crowd of business owners and ‘business buddies’ in an animated presentation followed by informal gathering for “Wine Wednesday” cocktails and conversation.
For those who didn’t make the meeting, the answer to the question is simple – networking is an essential tool in every business owner’s toolkit.
If you’re among the many who cringe at the word (think smarmy handshakes, awkward conversations, opportunistic sales types), simply expand your definition of networking and you’ve won the battle.
Making new connections happens each time you walk out the door or pick up the phone. You may not think so, but your very presence in someone elses circle is the first step to networking.
A simple way to network is to extend a planned meeting or conversation by
- sharing a new idea
- asking a question
- reaching out to offer assistance
- referring to an accomplishment
- making any kind of positive and unexpected contribution to the conversation or meeting.
Each time you share an ‘other oriented’ comment beyond what is expected, you expand your influence in the mind of a colleague or acquaintance. That unexpected conversation makes you and your services more likely to be remembered when the next opportunity comes up for a business lead.
Networking is a lot of things, but it is never just meeting and greeting activity. Some of us are good at it and enjoy the process, others not so much. When you think of networking as a regular part of your every business day, you will begin to expand your circle and influence naturally, avoiding the stress that makes you avoid the activity.
Whether you join local business groups like WBOC, attend business mixers, sign up for educational seminars, or go to the next Speed Networking event – or whether you don’t - your everyday actions to connect with people in and around your business are a form of networking that will lead to new opportunities.
So, go on out there. Be fabulous and confident as a networker, however you accomplish it!
Speaking of networking – there are two great WBOC networking opportunities coming up you will want to attend.
- Better Blogging: Better Business WBOC April Meeting, A WBOC presentation rescheduled from February by professional blogger Lauren Greutman of IAmThatLady.com. Join Lauren and fellow women business owners as she shares how blogging engages the hearts of customers to build loyalty and increase sales.Wed. April 2, 4:30 to 6:00 pm. To register, WBOC Events
- 12th Annual WISE Symposium A full day conference attended by 1000 women featuring seminars and panel discussions offering practical advice covering topics from all aspects of the business world; motivational speeches from local and nationally-known successful women business owners; many networking opportunities; an interactive business expo; and much more. Keynote speakers this year are Stella and Dot founder Jessica Herrin, and Melinda Emerson, creator of Small Biz Lady. To register or for more information. Tuesday, April 8, 9:00 – 5:00 pm.